Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sex Changes to Avoid Persecution and Execution

It is well-known that under Iranian law, homosexual relationships and/or "homosexual tendencies" are punishable by death. Some Iranian leaders believe, "homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both".

Since 1979, according to Omid, a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights in Iran, an electronic database of human rights violations, 146 executions occurred as a result of charges related to homosexuality.

Yet, despite the Iranian government's hatred and barbaric treatment of homosexuals, filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian discovered, while making her documentary, entitled ‘Be Like Others’, that the Iranian government's solution - or sometimes offered alternative for homosexuality - is forced sex change operations.

Obviously, no organization or political party is permitted to exist that endorses LGBT human rights in Iran as well as throughout much of the Muslim world. However, fortunately, courageous and heroic people - many who risk their lives - struggle and persist in the fight for gay rights in regions where "coming out" can be deadly.

Here are a few examples:

Green Party of Iran - Except for a very short period of history, democracy and freedom of expression has not existed in Iran. The Green Party of Iran believes that establishing democracy in Iran will be the foundation for any progress in the state of the economy, environment and living conditions. It is for this reason that the Green Party of Iran advocates equal rights: Every Iranian citizen is equal by law, regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or political beliefs.

Iranian Queer Railroad IRQR - is an international, non profit, gay human rights organization based in Toronto, Canada. They help Iranian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered refugees all over the world. IRQR also help Iranian LGBT who are threatened with deportation back to Iran, and assist Iranian LGBT in obtaining asylum in friendly countries.

In another part of the Muslim world, Morocco, where homosexual relations is also considered a crime, punishable by fines and prison sentences of six months to three years, Moroccan writer, Abdellah Taia, author of Salvation Army, as well as four other books, and has made it his mission to win acceptance for homosexuals throughout the Muslim world.

Iraqi LGBT - A Human Rights group Supporting Iraqi lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender people .

Parvez Sharma, creator and director of A Jihad for Love - a documentary that seeks to refute the belief that LGBT Muslims do not exist. Sharma, director and cinematographer of the film, came up with the idea after listening to the stories of gay Muslims when he attended American University. He decided to give a voice "to a community that really needed to be heard, and that until now hadn’t been. It was about going where the silence was strongest."


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