Over 530 Iranian human rights organisations and notable individuals demand decriminalisation of same-sex relations

More than 500 political, cultural, academic, and social activists, alongside 34 Iranian human rights organisations, have signed a statement advocating for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships and tackling discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This initiative, led by 6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network), marks the occasion of IDAHOBIT 2024.

In a groundbreaking move, the signatories affirm their responsibility as citizens to oppose the patriarchal and heterosexual norms of the Islamic Republic and to support the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. They recognise that their silence has contributed to ongoing violence, repression, and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals and emphasise the necessity of respecting and guaranteeing these rights as essential to achieving democracy.

“The reception of this statement by such a large group of notable Iranian personalities and influential human rights organisations in support of the rights of a community that cannot even express their identity without fear of government punishment or family and social violence is very promising,” said Shadi Amin, director of 6Rang. “This gives us as activists in this field more power to continue the fight to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The LGBTQI+ community in Iran faces severe marginalisation and persecution. The Islamic Penal Code criminalises gender nonconformity and same-sex relations, with penalties ranging from flogging to death. LGBTQI+ individuals frequently experience physical and psychological violence in various settings, including at home, in public, at school, at work, and in healthcare facilities. They also face hate speech from officials and state media, which often includes derogatory language intended to dehumanise those based on their sexual orientation. Furthermore, producing, using, or distributing LGBT-related material is a punishable offence, and advocacy for LGBTQI+ human rights is criminalised, accompanied by internet smear campaigns to discredit activists’ efforts.

To see the full text of the statement and signatories in Persian, click here.



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