Men in Iran don women’s clothes to protest cross-dress punishment

Kurdish men and women in Iran have cross-dressed to protest a ‘sexist’ punishment where a man was sentenced to be paraded down the street in female clothing

Men in Iran don women’s clothes to protest cross-dress punishment
23 April 2013

Kurdish men from the Marivan County in the Kurdistan province of Iran have launched a cross-dressing campaign to redress outmoded concepts of masculinity and femininity.

Over the last week, over 150 Kurdish men have posted photographs of themselves in women’s clothing to campaign against the sexist nature of a court sentence which led to the public humiliation of a man by dressing him in women’s clothing.

The campaign, entitled Kurd Men for Equality is a response to a sentence given to a convicted man by the Marivan County tribunal court on 15 April. The campaign’s tagline reads: ‘Being a woman is not a way for humiliation or punishment.’

According to Saman Rasoulpour, the convicted man was paraded down the streets of Marivan in a red tchador (traditional Kurdish women’s clothing).

Rasoulpour stated that public humiliation is a common punishment for troublemakers.

Rasoulpour told us: ‘[In] this way, authorities are able to both demean the accused and deliver a warning to the public.’

However, Rasoulpour emphasized: ‘This is the first time in Iran that an accused is paraded in women’s clothes in the streets to humiliate him. It is unprecedented anywhere in Iran.’

In response to the judge’s sentence, a local feminist organization of Marivan called the Marivan Womens’ Community held a protest against the misogynistic punishment. The protest brought one hundred women on the streets of Marivan in a civil resistance campaign for gender equality.

In solidarity with the women’s protest, a man named Massoud Fathipour posted a photograph of himself dressed in women’s clothing. According to Rasoulpour, ‘he ignited the spark’.

Since the Kurd Men for Equality campaign has been launched on 18 April, it has quickly gained an international following of over 7,000 fans. Over 150 men have submitted photographs of themselves in women’s clothing to emphasize the message that being a woman should not be considered humiliating.

In parliament 17 Iranian MPs have signed a petition addressed to the Justice Ministry which decries this sentence as ‘humiliating to Muslim women’.

Supporters of the campaign have written messages in support of the gender equality on the Facebook wall.

Ala M writes: ‘For many years, women in my country have been side-by-side with men, wearing men’s clothes, struggling. Tonight I am happy and honored to wear women’s clothes and be even a small part of the rightful struggle of people to express gratitude and excellence to the women of my country.’

Another supporter, Namo Kurdistani writes: ‘We should gather together and condemn this stupidity, brutality and inhumanity against women. This is the least I can do to support women.’

In one of the protest images posted on Facebook, two LGBT rainbow flags can be seen on the wall in the background. People have commented on the image supporting homosexuality.

Women have also supported the campaign by posting photographs of themselves wearing men’s clothing.

Iran claims it treats transgender people well but an expert told GSN the punishment in this case also indicates the stigma and discrimination trans people still face in the country as well as being a sign of simple sexism.

According to Rasoulpour, no public apology has been made by authorities and security forces in Iran have strongly criticized the campaign.



No thumbnail available

Why the Olympic Pride House is standing tall for gay sport

Whether you think the Olympics are for you or not, LGBT sports and human rights come together at London 2012’s Pride House
No thumbnail available

Ghana US diplomat urges dialogue on gay rights

Outgoing US ambassador to Ghana speaks out against homophobia and urges Ghana to have an open and respectful dialogue on LGBT rights
No thumbnail available

Two arrested under new St Petersburg gay law

First use of new anti-gay ‘propaganda’ legislation in Russian city of St Petersburg
No thumbnail available

Radio station considers banning pro-gay Macklemore song over complaint

98.7FM in California were sent a letter condemning homosexuality and branded Same Love 'offensive'
No thumbnail available

Shareholders applaud, criticize General Mills stand against gay marriage ban in Minnesota

CEO Ken Powell: ' We did not do it as a public relations move'
No thumbnail available

When will the UK stop risking gay asylum seekers’ lives?

Omar Kuddus argues the case of Olalekan M Ayelokun shows Britain is not genuine about protecting LGBT people fleeing persecution
No thumbnail available

UK government has four days to explain uses for data seized from gay 'terrorism' suspect

David Miranda, the gay partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald who published leaked confidential government information, was detained and his belongings confiscated under suspicion of terrorism
No thumbnail available

British actress Tilda Swinton says gay people’s challenges make them stronger

British actress Tilda Swinton has said that the challenges that gay people have in coming out make them have more self examined lives and that’s something straight people miss out on
No thumbnail available

Lou Reed 'forgives' mother for electroshock therapy used to cure him of gay desire

Reed's 1974 song Kill Your Sons rails against doctors who used electroshock therapy to end his gay sexual attraction
No thumbnail available

Sally Field talks to Oprah Winfrey about embracing being the mother of a gay son

'There are so many parents who are frightened and who don’t embrace their children as they struggle'