Teens have opened up about what it’s like to grow up LGBTI in Iran.
Dozens of young people revealed they are ‘depressed’ and ‘frustrated’ by living in the Muslim-majority country.
One even also said his boyfriend was killed by family members.
The messages came after a tweet went viral among young people in Iran and the Middle East.
We will not be linking to the viral tweet in question or the responses to protect their identities.
Teens open up about what it’s like to grow up LGBTI in Iran
‘The depression and frustration that I see from the LGBT+ teens inside Iran on Twitter is terribly terrible,’ the tweet said in Arabic.
‘I was never so frustrated. Please respond with what hurts the most.’
One simply said: ‘Fear of a future you do not have.’
Another said their boyfriend was killed.
‘My family is harsh. My mother is relentless and had a bad feeling about my boyfriend. She informed my boyfriend’s parents and a week later his uncle had him killed.
‘I know my friends keep pushing me to marry the opposite sex. I really do not know what to do.’
One other young person also said they had also been receiving death threats from their family.
‘I don’t know whether I’ll live tomorrow,’ he said. ‘My family has been threatening to make it happen sooner or later.’
Teens: ‘I’m very tired’
Many feel they struggle with accepting themselves, never mind anyone else.
‘We do not accept ourselves. Even though you know you are a minority, you know you have no way of finding a relationship or getting out of depression,’ one said.
‘I do not think so much. I’m very tired.’
And another said: ‘There is nothing I can do except to pretend to be like everyone else.’
But others try and stay positive.
‘I’m not upset and disappointed with myself because of my sexuality,’ one said. ‘I’m happy and cheerful. The only thing I’m worried about sometimes if my family will one day understand.
‘It’s a matter of honor. So I’m just not sure.
‘But I’m happy. I’m beautiful. Make your world beautiful. I also love dancing with my sister’s kids. Every time I hear myself or someone like me described as disgusting or inferior, I meditate and try and let it all go.’
Iran has the death penalty for homosexuality
Gay sex between men is a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, enacted in 1991.
Iran sentences gay men to death for homosexual intercourse. Moreover, men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing, while women may be flogged for same-sex sexual activity.
In January, a court found a man guilty of raping two young males and hanged him. However, activists say the government executed him before questions could be asked about the case.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, recently defended the country’s gay death penalty.
‘Our society has moral principles,’ he said. ‘And we live according to these principles.’