Man o Baba on homosexuality


by Monda

I wrote this as a comment on JJ's "Gay Times" blog on the upcoming comedy night in San Francisco "There are no Gays in Iran".  Since JJ has asked us to blog our own experiences with gayness, I am submitting it right away, pretty much the the way it was as a comment.  When I have more time, I will edit and add to it.

At age 10 I had a serious crush on my cousin Farhad, who was not only very gorgeous, cool and smart but also gay.  I found out the latter piece when he killed himself when I was 15 and he 23. He tied some rocks to his ankles and made himself drown in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.

On my dad's side I had many gay relatives whose identities were closeted or not so, during the Shah's time. Some had come out by introducing themselves as bisexual, which perhaps sounded more chic in some social circles.  To my dad who was my role model as far as civility and acceptance of "the different" went, those guys were all responsible, educated and respectable members of our extended family.

After Farhad's suicide, there was severe concerns about other young male gay or bi and friends among us. I was not only in shock and quietly mourning the loss of my intense childhood love but for the first time I had a grown-up conversation with my dad about sexuality. He said, "You loved Farhad for what he was in totality... I congratulate you on that, but also know that aside from your age difference, he could not have changed himself for you or for any woman. He was gay but he loved you as his young cousin... he could never hurt you or anyone by being gay. And he died for many reasons related to his adjustment to that fact. Too bad Farhad thought his options were a short list."

I was so relieved by our short talk.  Then Dr. Ebrahim Khajehnouri a family friend, who knew my cousin Farhad and a prominent psychiatrist of my teenage years in Iran, at a 13-bedar gathering in Karaj, educated me on the genetic pointers of being gay, the accomplishments of many gay artists, political figures, or average Joe's among us - I was absolutely fascinated. As a teenager I was confused about the dilemma non-heterosexuals had to face, even back then. 

I have recently heard many comments about my excitement about the "There Are No Gays in Iran" comedy night for Many well-wishers among my mom's side suspected my divorce was due to my coming out of the closet... "It's Ok to be a lesbian, (but stay away from our kids, they implied), until you're clear on your decision."  I did not bother to share further than saying, "my divorce had nothing to do with my sexuality nor any other man, or woman... I had decided on my hopeless marriage many many years ago and I proceeded with my decision when it was the right time for the kids." 

I still get their tones of disbelief especially when I send them "There Are No Gays in Iran" ads (weekly) urging them to buy their tickets, better yet plan their trips to SF for the show :o)

I have had many gay, lesbian or bi friends, colleagues, professors and clinical directors.  Working and owning a business in SF's Hayes Valley for like 20 years. How could one not?  Or attending the most liberal graduate school and working in the field of healing, how could I not?  I love them all, for different reasons but not because of their sexuality.  My friends and colleagues, all know that where I come from, as a woman I would feel like a minotrity too - that if I ever decided to go back to Iran of the IRI in fact I'd be stoned to death more than twice for marrying and zenaa with non-Muslim men who were nowhere close to any institutionalized religion. 

I leave this blog with this: IRI atrocities committed toward gay men or women, are unacceptable human rights violations in Iran.  We need to voice our protest against abusive treatments of any minority, be it religious, sexual or ideological.  We are equally responsible about supporting our second or third generation gay Iranians in diaspora who may need our acceptance and tolerance for who they are and who they choose to be.  Growing up as a minority, has trained me to support all minorities, until they/we are no longer minorities but human beings with different ideas about living life.  We don't need to hide ourselves under black covers or in dark closets, we are here to Live. Accept us as we accept you.


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more from Monda

Holden, Where is Your neighborhood?! IC?!

by Monda on

It's not only yours, let me break it you!  I promote whatever I believe in. What do you want to do about it? Why don't you start your own hate blogs, in Your neighborhood?

Take care of yourself, not endearingly but seriously! 

Holden Caulfield

It's more "straight"forward than you think

by Holden Caulfield on

Without a doubt, your personal life is not my business. All I am saying is: Don't promote your ideal lifestyle or regime such as homosexuality, or monarchism in my neighborhood, so to speak.


Holden, your deductions don't hold much

by Monda on

I divorced way before the comedy show promotion (for reasons that don't concern you).

Zan zaleel's make a choice just like non-zan zaleels. And neither status is superior, whatever zan-zaleel even means.

Bahai's should be Free to practice their beliefs as all other people. How do you gauge one faith superior over another?!  IRI has been trying to do just that and look where they are.  

I don't have time for the rest of your list.

Take care of yourself! 





Holly jan, every bit of hope and education helps

by Monda on

Thank you for your comment: 


All I can do in this case is wish them well I guess. But I seriously think that parents, especially in our community and those with similar cultures, need to educate themselves on these issues so that they can recognize signs and seek advice so that the family as whole as well as the child can deal with it in a healthy and positive way. 


Mina jan,

by Monda on

mamnoon az reading it and your comment.


Anonymous Everyday & Monda jan

by HollyUSA on

AnonED, I have no doubt that it is genetic, at least in most cases. What I was asking was if it can manifest itself at an early age or is it something that shows at/after puberty or even later in life. Also, I don't think that the little girl asking for a penis is on its own necessarily tied to being gay. My aunt used to tell me how mad she would get as a little girl with 5 brothers because they could pee standing up and she couldn't! And she's most definitely NOT gay :)

Monda jan, I hear you. Unfortuanately 1) I am not close enough to them to raise questions about their child's sexuality which must be a very sensitive and private issue for most parents 2) Both parents come from families with deep 'religious' beliefs and this little boy is further burdened with being the only male grandchild of the family. So I would assume that the possibility of him being gay would not go over well.

All I can do in this case is wish them well I guess. But I seriously think that parents, especially in our community and those with similar cultures, need to educate themselves on these issues so that they can recognize signs and seek advice so that the family as whole as well as the child can deal with it in a healthy and positive way. So thank you for offering some of that much needed education on IC :)


Anon-Everyday, Monda

by minadadvar on

Dear AE, Freud might have called your friend's daughter request "penis envy".  I call it internalization of dominant belief system.  Freud's theories continue to be significant, but obsolete.

Dear Monda, great topic.  Thanks for your touching story. 


hamsade ghadimi jan,

by Monda on

thank you for your comment and reading my blog. I feel for that young man's sufferings and those of his loved ones. Yours is also a very tragic example of how intolerance and ignorance impact innocent lives.


Anonymous Everyday,

by Monda on

Again, we need to hear from the little girl's mom on her own values and stance about sexuality.  A 5 year old is  appropriately fascinated by body parts and it is in the parent(s)' reaction to this curiosity that the child forms her concept about any area related to sex. And yes homosexuality has very clear and strong genetic link in perhaps at least 80% of the human race.


Holly jan, parents need to seek help

by Monda on

I hear you. Each person needs to be approached on their Specific family dynamics. It's impossible to assess this family's situation and the implications of their child's preference with toys from where I am sitting.  If you feel close enough to the family, encourage them to talk to a professional in their area.

They can get referrals to family practitioners by going on the CAMFT website or through their pediatrician. 

hamsade ghadimi

human beings

by hamsade ghadimi on

my belated condolences regarding your cousin.  this is a good blog so that we hear about others' experiences and views regarding homosexuality.  your story reminded me of the brother of my older sister's friend who drowned himself in khazar.  he was an intelligent, kind and compassionate man who i suspect was not supported in his family with the exception of his sister.  it was his third attempt at suicide. he was 20.

Anonymous Everyday

Sorry to butt in

by Anonymous Everyday on

HollyUSA: When my ex-collegeague told me that she had a lesbian daugher, she said already at 5 when she was asked what she wished for her birthday present she'd said, a penis. How can that not be genetical?? 


Monda but...

by HollyUSA on

I WANT to get you started on this stuff. It is so fascinating. This little boy I was talking about didn't want to dress like a girl (at least not that I know of), but he behaved and more significantly played like a girl. It was very subtle but still very noticeable especially if one was familiar with little boys typical play and behavior. 

It is so hard to know if and how one should approach such situations. And it is perhaps even harder knowing that if someone doesn't, the parents are likely to remain in denial and end up ruining the poor child's life.


Holly jan, may be noticeable

by Monda on

Even at 5 or 6, children exhibit sexual behaviors, appropriate or not, to the adult eye.  However, the interpretation is key.  Young children act in very subtle ways.

I was working with this wonderful 4 year old boy who would refuse to wear any clothes but princess outfits in different colors. His parents came from strict homophobic backgrounds... At the very first session I asked his parents to commit to therapy as a family, not sending in the little boy as the "identified patient". The first 5 sessions my work was only with bonding with the parents/ creating working alliance And hearing their individual stories regarding sexuality.  By I think our 17th session we managed to lower the anxiety levels in the little boy's parents to a manageable level where they could function competently-enough for their little son.  Then the question became, what is the worst that can happen if they had their son dressed as a princess for the rest of their lives... Then I agreed to see the little boy, as part of the family. Around our 25th session, one day he showed up in shorts and t-shirt.  With young kids, we always need to gather information on the parents' views of the world, before we even get close to assessing any developmental dysfunction.  (Holly joon don't start me on these things, I could write 'til morning :o)

By old-childhood (around age 10) it becomes much more clear if the child is gay or lesbian.  

shab bekhair azizam. 


Anonymous Observer jaan,

by Monda on

I appreciate your comment.  Yes even in the US, in some families there is very little tolerance and support regarding an individual's sexual identity.  I have worked with too many adolescents and young adults from extremely religious or other dysfunctional backgrounds who were offered negative only support, sending them into severe manic-depressive states and/or self-harming tendencies.  It is tragic indeed.

However, in Iran, added to all the dilemma and suffering, there's the threat of execution or torture by the government. Gays and Lesbians in iran have horrific lives. We must acknowledge this reality.  And we should offer our acceptance and support toward the Gay Iranian-Americans in our global village. 


Question Monda jaan

by HollyUSA on

Do u think it is possible to tell if a child is gay when they are very young? Say 5-6 years old? I ask because I had a friend whose son definitely exhibited what at least I saw as signs. I'm asking your 'expert opinion' if you would like to give it :)


Anonymous Observer

Monda Jaan

by Anonymous Observer on

Sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin.  It's tragic to see a society (any society-not just Iran) that derives one into self annihilation because of his / her sexual orientation.  Even here in the U.S., I have friends who are gay and hide that part of their lives from family and most friends.  Some of their lives are truly tragic, with many emotional issues, dysfunctional relationships with family (one of them hasn't spoken to his parents for almost a decade and they were very loving parents), etc.  Very sad.   


divaneh jan,

by Monda on

It means a lot to me that you enjoyed reading me.  My father was way ahead of his times on many topics, I think his law school education in US back in the 40's helped his vision when he returned to Iran. As more traditional Iranian-Americans, my Mom's side of the family have held on to many traditional values unquestioned. Out of 8 female cousins in my mom's side, only one is still married. Each and every one went through years of "I told you so"... my heart has always gone to these women for feeling so hurt by some family member's comment relating to divorce.  


Enjoyed reading it again

by divaneh on

I read your blog once as a comment and once here and enjoyed reading it both times. We have been out f Iran for a very long time and I wonder if the reaction that you get from family is a small example of how the society would judge the liberal attitude of the Western Iranian diaspora. Not, if they are as wise as your dad.

Holden Caulfield

Deducting the deductions!

by Holden Caulfield on

I understand where you are  coming from; but in order to know where we are going!, you have to count in the complementing parameter here; as follows in bold:

If you promote a gay comedy show while divorcing your husband, you must be a homosexual.

If you defend Iranian women's struggle for equality while you sleep on the sofa, you must be zan zaleel.

If you defend the rights of Bahais to freely practice their faith and your Bob is called Hazrat , you must be a Bahai.

If you condemn the Holocaust and kill Palestinian among other things, you must be pro-Israeli.

If you condemn the occupation of Palestinian territories and hate jews, you must be an anti-semite.

If you defend Iran's right to nuclear technology to the point of making the A bomb, you must be a supporter of the Islamic Republic.

If you are against military attacks on Iran and for military attacks against Americans, you must be anti-American.

If you believe in freedom and democracy and insist on the flawlessness of the American model, you must be pro-American.


Holden Caulfield, how about writing a blog...

by Monda on

about your other logical deductions? I'll read it only if you come up with new ones that JJ hasn't already written.


Well said JJ

by Princess on

Baa een hame alaamye dahr, with their logical deductions, no wonder our nation is where it is today.


Jahanshah Javid

Logical deduction

by Jahanshah Javid on

You're right Holden Caulfield.

If you promote a gay comedy show, you must be a homosexual.

If you defend Iranian women's struggle for equality, you must be zan zaleel.

If you defend the rights of Bahais to freely practice their faith, you must be a Bahai.

If you condemn the Holocaust, you must be pro-Israeli.

If you condemn the occupation of Palestinian territories, you must be an anti-semite.

If you defend Iran's right to nuclear technology, you must be a supporter of the Islamic Republic.

If you are against military attacks on Iran, you must be anti-American.

If you believe in freedom and democracy, you must be pro-American.

It all makes sense, your kind of "logical deduction".

Holden Caulfield

Forensics 101

by Holden Caulfield on

"And I'm amused that some of your family members think you are a lesbian just because you are divorcing your husband AND promoting a gay comedy show. People are strange..."

It's, on the other hand, called a "logical deduction".  


Faramarz, JJ va Anahid

by Monda on

Thanks for reading this and your kind comments. 



Anahid Hojjati

Monda jan, thanks for your story

by Anahid Hojjati on



Dear Monda, thanks.  I had read this as a comment on Jahanshah's blog and I am glad that you blogged it.

Jahanshah Javid

Lucky you

by Jahanshah Javid on

I can imagine the unbelievable suffering of being gay, especially for Iranians. It's difficult enough in Judeo-Christian societies where homosexuals are looked upon as abominable sinners and sexual deviants. In Iran you have the added threat of death hanging over you.

I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your cousin and what society did to drive him to the bottom of the sea. After hearing about such tragedies, I wonder if people who hate realize their part in ending innocent life or in perpetuating needless, cruel suffering of human beings. It does have an impact, slowly but surely.

And I'm amused that some of your family members think you are a lesbian just because you are divorcing your husband AND promoting a gay comedy show. People are strange... I wrote a blog about gay issues and I got comments telling me I should come out of the closet :>)

You were lucky to have had a father who was as open-minded, tolerant and understanding as he was. Very very rare indeed in our society.


A Touching Story

by Faramarz on


Thanks for sharing such a personal and touching story.

It is so tragic that someone should lose his life because of the ignorance and intolerance of the people around them. 


Souri azizeh,

by Monda on

I'm glad you're on this thread.  And hey so what if someone gets distracted from their focus? :o))  khoob gofti, Live and let Live baba.  Seriously, the pro-creation arguments of sexuality don't stick with me but I can accept other people's views as long as their expressive style is civil enough for me to engage with.


merci Red Wine jan,

by Monda on

I'm glad you read this. 

Please consider sharing your ideas about sexuality.  For years I have read your romantic adventures with beautiful women, inquiring minds want more :o)