Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, racist, overt homophobe and President of Iran has changed his mind about the existence of gay people in his country. He has even been on the American news show Democracy Now to reveal the extraordinary news that there are indeed some gay people in Iran: “There might be a few people who are known. In general, our country would not accept it.”
But Mahmoud, didn’t you say last year that there are no gay people in Iran?
“I didnâ€™t say they donâ€™t exist; I said not the way they are here. In Iran, itâ€™s considered as a very unlikable and abhorrent act. People simply donâ€™t like it. Our religious decrees tell us that itâ€™s against our values, and all divine laws, actually, believe in the same. Who has given them permission to engage in homosexual acts? Itâ€™s considered as an abhorrent act. It shakes the foundations of a society, the family foundation. It robs humanity. It brings about diseases.”
So with no homosexuals or maybe a few as you claim, is Iranian society free of moral decay and disease? If homosexuality is against “all divine laws” would it true to say that God created homosexuality contrary to his own divine laws? And if that is the case, is God capable of gross errors of judgement?
I ask those questions of Ahmadinejad but I doubt very much he is going to address the metaphysical paradox at the heart of the “God hates queers” thesis, which can be found, however way you slice and dice them, in all of the “Big Three” shiny happy monotheistic faiths.
In spite of Ahmadinejad’s homophobic bragadaccio, Peter Tatchell, the prominent gay rights campaigner, senses a note of defensiveness creeping into Iran’s homophobia, and sees Adhmadinejad’s climbdown as progress.
“In years gone past, the Iranian government proudly boasted that it had the death penalty for gay sex and that it publicly hanged gay people,” Mr Tatchell added.
“These latest statements by Ahmadinejad are much more defensive. He strenuously denies that gay people can face execution. This shows that the regime no longer has the confidence to openly proclaim its violent homophobia. The persecution of gays continues in Iran but now, unlike before, the regime seeks to hide it and deny it.
“This is strong evidence that the homophobic dictatorship in Tehran has been stung by international protests against its flogging and hanging of men involved in same-sex relations. It realises this persecution has been a public relations disaster which has greatly harmed Iranâ€™s international image. Hence the current denials by Ahmadinejad.
“It is proof that the global protests against Iranâ€™s persecution of lesbian and gay people have been effective. We must maintain the worldwide campaign until Iran is so embarrassed by international condemnation that it completely halts the victimisation of gays,” added Mr Tatchell.
You can watch the full interview and read the full text on the Democracy Now website:
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs