Iranian Gays Bravely Unite Worldwide
By Patricia Conklin
Badpuppy Gay Today
Monday, 3 February, 1997
Gay men and lesbians live in frightening closets in this ancient land once known as Persia. A theocracy, ever since fundamentalist religionists seized government control following a 1979 uprising against the autocratic Shah, primitive "religious" death penalties for same-sex love are now used to strike terror into Iran's fragmented gay communities. Those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch.
During the past decade, however, Iranian men and women, primarily exiles, have bravely confronted the rampant homophobia loosed in their country, publishing an impressive magazine, Homan, and courageously establishing worldwide outposts of their organization, also called Homan. Hit-squads sanctioned by the Iranian government operate brashly in locales outside the nation, murdering nationals who oppose the current "religious" regime. The bravery, therefore, of Iranians who publish and agitate against the anti-gay policies of the regime cannot be underestimated.
A perusal of the anti-gay penal code passed by the fundamentalist Iranian parliament in 1982 gives evidence of the insanity that motivates homophobic nit-pickers. "One may become aware of the complexities and intricacies of Iranian sex laws and appreciate the extraordinary flatulence of their creators," writes one critic.
According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion. Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English- speaking world as "frottage" is punishable by death if the "offender" is a non-Moslem.
If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth "offense" both men will be put to death.
Even heterosexually-inclined Iranians must now be exceedingly careful. Should they introduce two men who are likely to be found nude under the covers or to rub their penises between thighs or buttocks, they too are liable for 70 lashes (if they are men) or 75 lashes (if they are women.)
According to Article 156, a person who repents and confesses his gay behavior prior to his identification by four witnesses, may be pardoned. Even kissing "with lust" (Article 155) is forbidden. This bizarre law works to re-route old Persian male-bonding customs, including common kissing and holding hands in public. Who can determine what constitutes lust? Some gay liberationists joke about the "boner police."
In fact, morality police do thrive in modern Iran, seeking out not only gays and lesbians, but opposite sex couples too, those who picnic together without being related by blood.