Iran’s LGBT community celebrated its third national day of sexual minorities today (27 July).
They used it to send a message of love and solidarity.
Activists in Iran took photos, wrote blogs and recorded themselves to show that they exist everywhere, and are proud of their sexuality.
The Iranian LGBT community Facebook page stated ‘Today is the first Friday in the month of [a]Mordad [the fifth month in the Iranian calendar]. For the third consecutive year, today is celebrated by an expanding community of Iranian LGBTs inside Iran as the National Day of Iranian LGBTs.’
Six gay activists in the city of Kerman, in southern Iran, took pictures of themselves celebrating the occasion, holding a sign which says: 'Happy National Day of Iranian Sexual Minorities.'
Gorji Marzban chairperson of the Austrian-based Oriental Queer Organization (ORQOA) told Gay Star News: ‘Iranian LGBT people want to celebrate our sexualities, we exist and we’re not sick or sinners.
‘Someday it will become a day of celebration, and the LGBT community in Iran will be proud of their struggle against ignorance and rigidity they experience from the regime.'
Omar Kuddus, a UK based activist who campaigns on Iran, stated: 'It is heart-warming [this] is in its third anniversary. Homosexuality in Iran is still very clandestine and behind doors.'
He said the country continued to use trumped-up criminal charges in order to execute gay people while disgusing to the rest of the world the real reason for their death.
'Unfortunately homosexuality will never be accepted in Iran whilst the current regime is in power,' he added.
In 2007, during a visit to Columbia University, USA, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously denied the existence of LGBT people: ‘In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you we have that.’
Human Rights Watch used its 2011 report to document the extreme difficulties the LGBT community in Iran faces including harrasment, presecution and even murder by family members being a common reality.
Homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment and even execution under Iran’s strict Shari’a laws.