Let us all be together

Statement by Homosexual Students at Iran’s Universities


Let us all be together
by Frieda Afary

Translator’s note: The formation of the new organization, “Homosexual Students at Iran’s Universities” is a courageous act. Below are large excerpts from a statement which this organization issued on the occasion of Students’ Day. For more information about queer organizing in Iran, please see “Twelve Men Face Execution for Sodomy in Iran” by Doug Ireland, published in Gay City News. Please also contact Hossein Alizadeh, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator at International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
-- www.iranianvoicesintranslation.blogspot.com


This year’s commemoration of December 7, significantly differs in nature from previous years. This December 7 is being shaped anew, not as necessitated by the calendar, but as necessitated by conditions that have set the stage for protest movements.

We cannot stop still or go backward. We cannot commemorate this event in a routine way. Just as we gave new political meaning to Qods Day, and appropriated November 3, so our preservation of December 7 as a commemoration which belongs to the student movement, denudes this day of its official title in order to make it an event once again. [Qods day refers to September 18, a day designated by Ayatollah Khomeini as Jerusalem Day. November 3, refers to the anniversary of the take over of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. This year, the Green Movement transformed both events into protests against the government and in defense of democracy and human rights –tr].

After five decades, the rise of a revolution, and the emergence of a people’s movement, December 7, the symbol of protest against a regime backed by the July 1953 coup, now confronts the June 12, 2009 coup [The July 1953 CIA-sponsored coup deposed the democratically elected government of prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, and returned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power—tr] This year, the distinguishing factor is that the forces of the people are intertwined in the context of these [December 7] protests. Students are no longer starry-eyed in their socio-political struggle. Prior to the people’s protest against dictatorship and lawlessness under the Islamic Republic, students might have felt isolated in their opposition to dictatorship. Now, however, the student movement takes place in the context of a society which demands an end to dictatorship, and is untainted by superficiality and narrow-mindedness.

Due to the depth of social perception in the student body, and an extensive grasp of human rights and civil rights, student demands are now linked to women’s demands on the one hand and workers’ demands on the other. This dual link has been achieved not only on the basis of theoretical knowledge but also on the basis of practical experience.

On the other hand, the student movement includes the demands of homosexuals. These demands represent a transgression of deeply rooted cultural boundaries which impede social tolerance.

The presence of minorities within the student body, limits the possibility of monopolization. . . . Students who may have different names, are part of the people. Their multiple presence on a variety of fronts continues to shake the weak foundation of the regime and challenges its security. The student movement is not green throughout. It also includes other colors. However, the breadth of the instinctual drive for equality among the people of the Green Movement, has compelled other colors to accommodate to it. We hope that the social right to self-determination of a people who wish to live within the framework of human rights and not any type of ideological dictatorship, will be placed in the hands of the people themselves. The students will not monopolize December 7.

Similar to years prior to the June 12 election, students constitute the largest number of those murdered, arrested and tortured . . . December 7, 2009 is equated with December 7, 1953 in order to transcend it and move from protesting the coup to determining the fate of democracy in Iran. In order to create a society in which everyone is free to move safely in her/his direction, we need to be together. On December 7, let us comprehend that freedom for the majority can only exist when minorities are safe. Let us be together.

Homosexual Students at Iran’s Universities, publish their third statement on the occasion of a December 7 commemoration which might signify the last gasps of a coup-backed government.

Considering that a significant number of university students are also queers, and considering that the active part of the queer community in Iran consists of university students and university graduates, it is not too late to correct the intolerant and inappropriate drafts of the constitution, in order to guarantee that the perspectives of the representatives of the Green Movement do not fall short of the perspectives of the rank and file of the people’s movement. [The authors of this statement do not cite the specific drafts to which they refer. A draft presented by the “Lawyers of the Iranian People’s Green Movement” does recognize the rights of people regardless of gender, religion, nationality and race, but makes no mention of sexual orientation—tr. The Persian text can be viewed online here. A brief summary in English is available here.]

Another milestone achieved by this year’s December 7 commemoration was the student body’s deep comprehension of the concept of human rights. It is crucial to remind the readers that the student movement and the women’s movement have captivated a larger portion of Iranian society because these movements are more tolerant and think more deeply.

At a time when two human rights organizations in Iran --which consist of students-- have been courageous and forthright in taking up the rights of minorities and especially sexual minorities who have been excluded from civil rights protection, the representatives of the Green Movement who are devising the outlines of the new constitution, avoid mentioning the rights of minorities. If we do not pay attention, the first opportunity for correcting the defects of the constitution will lead not to reform but to a future imprisoned by prejudice and exclusion.

On the eve of December 7, and at a time when the Green Movement of the people has come to signify fresh air for a repressed society, students who give their all to this movement, do so to make sure that the passion for life is not crushed under the boots of dictatorship.

Homosexual Students at Iran’s Universities who have not been promised any share of political power or fame, would like to send a message to the Green Movement in the spirit of solidarity and kinship. The demands of the people, rooted only in the necessity to abide by human rights and civil rights, are greater than all the demands which the leaders of the Green Movement utter in honor of the [1979 –tr] revolution.

Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Mousavi, Mrs. Rahnavard, students and families, on this December 7, keep the Green Movement dynamic by making a statement about the human rights demands of all the people of Iran. The movement needs more than the blood of the youth to survive. The movement needs a timely declaration of its exact, explicit, and human rights-based demands, in order to defend your lives and your social rights. Let us all be together.

Homosexual Students at Iran’s Universities

For Freedom and Equality

December 6, 2009


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More Power To These Courageous Souls

by Monda on

On the eve of December 7, and at a time when the Green Movement of the people has come to signify fresh air for a repressed society, students who give their all to this movement, do so to make sure that the passion for life is not crushed under the boots of dictatorship.



by jigsawnovich on

I noticed that one of my Tehrani friends put on his Facebook profile that he is "anti-gay." I told him I am bi-sexual and asked him if that made him half against me! We talked about gays and lesbians for awhile, and he decided that he isn't actually against gay men, he just feels uncomfortable around them. Then he removed the "anti-gay" statement from his profile. And he occasionally asks me if I've "seen" any women lately. So, I guess he is more open minded than before!  ;)

Homosexual Students at Iran's Universities sounds like a very dynamic organization--and linking up with supporters of human rights, women's rights, workers' rights could be great. I thoroughly enjoyed this article, look forward to more, and will click on the links.

The right of all human beings to love people of whichever gender comes natural to them is very core. We must be allowed to do so with dignity, with the potential to create lasting relationships that do not have to be hidden out of fear.



by xalephbet on

I don't think these people are "forcing" their belief system on anyone. All they are asking is that their basic rights be recognized so that they are not persecuted based on their sexual orientation.

For your information, homosexuality is not a new cultural phenomenon. It has existed since the beginning of time. It has been particularly widespread and accepted in our own culture. You just need to look at Persian literature and art to realize that. If anything, it's during the modern times, and as a result of Western influence that negative attitudes towards homosexualty became pervasive in Iran.

I believe the authors of this article are actually in Iran. Maybe you are the one who should go back to iran and see for yourself how diverse the iranian people really are.

Queer or straight, we are all striving for the same thing, a free society where basic human rights are respected.


Good to demand this ..

by irannostalgia.com on

Good to demand this.

However, those wishing freedom for Iran, in my opinion, should not stand behind a particular man like Mousavi.  The fact that Mousavi is kissing up to the memory of past ayatollahs and also ignoring many human rights issues, is sufficient reason why freedom movements should not concentrate on his figure.

Now that Iran has been a prisoner for 30 years, at least aim for full real freedom. 




human rights? I guess Khamenie has a point- cultural invasion

by mannya2001 on

wow, how convenient. Go to Mashad force your belief system on others and then tell them you are only propagating "Human Rights."

Bull!  What say you if in 50 years from now, a new cultural phenom. sweeps the West, where they would refrain from eating any meat. They would have genetically engineered meat. This they would argue replaces animal meat. New resolution in UN passes condemning the slaughter of animals for meat. Some would then take this and call for Iran to amend its constitution and culture to make sure it keeps up with the new "Animal rights"!

Boro Baba! Vaghean ke maskhare shodeen. Boro Iran, een harf hara bezan, bebeen mardom chetor behet negah mekonand.

I guess, in 100 years if Africans start running things, they might impose female circumcision on the rest of the planet.

All this talk only shows be the sanity of what people like Khamenie say. You are really lost, so lost there is no hope!

Say what- they want Abbas' father and mother to go along with him to ask for Majid's hand !!!


You, though want the Mashadi

by benross on

You, though want the Mashadi to embrace the homosexual.

Well, this is the Mashadi problem isn't it? Human rights doesn't specify which human.


Great read, thank you for posting this!

by OmidKarimi on

As a straight Iranian man, it would be nothing greater to see full rights for all in Iran, including gay men and women! Keep it up, it will be a long fight but we will get there!


Discuss, chat and post your opinions about Iran on my new forum: www.IranBebin.com



nature or environmental-regardless-iran not ready as a society

by mannya2001 on

it bothers me to enormous extent when we have people in the diaspora try to impose their beliefs on the people in iran.

homosexuals are still not fully accepted in the united states.  You, though want the Mashadi to embrace the homosexual.

how disconnected can you possibly be. 1400 years on and iranians still commemorate Ashoura and a strong Shia undercurrent runs in the society.  Even in so called liberal members of our society, when it comes to marriage, they do things the traditional way.  They do istekhare, hafez fal readings and other traditional things.

Don't try to force the Green movement to take up your cause.  Do you have the right to fight for your belief.  Sure.  But you and your cohorts have to be ready to face the consequences if it turns awry, or feel the glory if it goes well.  But this is your fight.  Don't try to force others to take up your cause, PLEASE.

Just a reminder.  To all those who go 180 degrees and embrace liberal attitudes, you just need to examine those before you who did the same thing.  You will see the state of confusion in your descendants.  You should set red lines and boundaries.  Trust me, indulgence never built up character.  Take a look at the Muslim fundamentalist & extremists.  One would have thought that after all the widely seen genocide they committed, people would turn away.  Instead we see in Europe, increasing number of teens turning to Islam because they see in it something that their families couldn't provide, mainly DISCIPLINE.

Happy Holidays to some, Tasliyat to others.


Jahanshah Javid

Big step forward

by Jahanshah Javid on

I salute these brave souls who are paving the way for the full recognition of homosexual rights in a country where such rights seem like a distant, almost impossible, dream. But as you stated, "we cannot stop still or go backward." The future must (and will) see the inclusion of homosexuals rights in Iran's basic laws.