It’s news to no one that being gay in Iran isn’t easy. But it may have gotten even harder now, under Iran’s “moderate” regime. On August 6, Abdullah Ghavami Chahzanjiru and Salman Ghanbari Chahzanjiri were hanged in southern Iran, reportedly for consensual sodomy. While Iranian media didn’t explicitly say the two were sentenced for sodomy, Western outlets were quick to point out that if they were, it would pose a problem for liberal Western states pushing for rapprochement with Iran.
The Daily Beast, for example, described the hangings as an “LGBT headache” for the Obama administration, which it said was “trying to walk a tightrope between LGBT human rights on one end and international politics on the other.”
But that’s not all. After ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously announced in 2007 that “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals,” a new report – by none other than the Iranian parliament – revealed this month that 17 percent of students (out of a staggering 142,000 polled) identify as homosexual. The Blaze compared the statistic to the latest US figures, which indicate that “a mere 1.6 percent of American adults identified as gay.”
The government’s “sex report”, as it has been dubbed by Western media, also shows that a large percentage of Iranian teens – both heterosexual and homosexual – are sexually active before marriage. 80% of unmarried female young adults were said to have boyfriends, indicating a high prevalence of “illicit unions,” in the words of The Economist.
The paper noted that the report, which was government-sanctioned, was “a rare official admission of the unspoken accord in Iran: people can do what they want so long as it takes place behind closed doors.”
In the wake of the report, numerous articles have been published exposing the underground sex lives of Iranians, indicating that the Islamic Republic is fighting a losing battle against the phenomenon. Well, propaganda comic strips can’t always win out against a generation for which sex has become a form of dissent.