For many LGBTI people in Iran, August 21st, 2020, was a signal of hope as the first pride event was held virtually, safe from the persecution of its Islamic regime. Inspired by virtual pride events this year and in a historic milestone, 6Rang held the first ever pride targeted towards the Iranian LGBTI community.
“Twenty or thirty years ago, we could not have imagined such immense solidarity or ever holding a pride. But we’ve made it possible. Our hope is to one day bring pride to every street of Iran. And we will make that possible too!”, said Shadi Amin, 6Rang’s Executive Director in the opening of the event. As per this message, solidarity between the members of the community was strong as they congratulated each other, and many expressed the desire to one day hold such an event in their own towns and cities.
The two-hour programme was followed by messages from twenty-three members of the community and allies worldwide, from the Philippines, Turkey, Germany, Afghanistan and Egypt, as well as eighteen allies from Iranian community including writers, artists, psychologists, women and human rights activists, journalists and other key figures. The participants were very diverse in terms of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnicity. The event also included LGBTI people with disabilities who spoke about the importance of intersectionality within the community.
As individuals belonging to the LGBTI community in Iran are often systematically persecuted or otherwise heavily oppressed, this virtual event allowed an air of solidarity, reassurance and pride for those living in fear. Messages of past strives by the community motivated the younger attendees.
In an effort to make this programme as accessible as possible, the entire event was subtitled.
Due to state persecution, most LGBTI people in Iran live in hiding. As the punishment for same-sex relationships is capital punishment and any public gathering involving LGBTI issues are sanctioned, LGBTI pride events do not take place. Also, members of the community can often feel demotivated and alone. Even though the virtual pride event did not physically bring the community together, the feeling of solidarity and hope was felt by everyone and throughout the entire event.