Prejudice in the Muslim world has been present since the earliest of times, but homophobia in current terms has magnified in Islam since the 1800s. Throughout its history, Islam has been generally tolerant of homosexuals, despite verses in the Koran condemning homosexual activity. Like most religious scriptures, these verses have equivocal interpretations, and many Muslims infer different messages from the text.
First, some scholars believe that homosexual men were not defined as "men" in the Koran, since they lacked attraction to women. Instead these men were considered eunuchs, and were allotted to tend to the women, since they would not be a threat to them. Therefore, some believe all the reference to sexual acts or sodomy between men refers to heterosexual men. While there are these questionable matters, all of the Middle Eastern countries' governments wield a strict and oppressive stance on homosexuality. All laws prohibit sexual relations between same sex individuals. While punishments and indictments vary from case to case and from country to country, there is no doubt that gays, lesbians, and transgenders live very risky and forbidden lives.
[...] LGBT in Beirut, Cairo, and other parts of the Middle East are fortunate to have access to education (albeit its limited nature) as well be informed through the internet. These individuals are able to claim a gay or lesbian identity. In Turkey, secular groups are beginning to organize in significant even using social constructs such as the words: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, which have typically been verboten. Talks of a gay pride parade have also been in development. Unfortunately, for Muslims in south-east Asia, the only way to discuss LGBT issues is through the veil of HIV/AIDS prevention. [...]
[...] ecent Canadian refugee Peyman Khosravi is in the works of making a documentary film entitled Know That I Am" about the transsexual women in Iran. He documents the stories of transsexuals who have suffered humiliation, shame, and rape, and violent abuse by the police. Almost ironically, rape as a power and dominance tool used by the authorities is not uncommon. Religious fundamentalism in other countries in the Middle East continues to pervade the fabric of their societies. Fundamentalism has been defined as "the use of religion to and mobilize power" according to the Women Living under Muslim Laws. [...]
[...] Perhaps the most popular of these remains PGLO.net (Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization/ Iranian Queer Organization), which was founded in 2003, evolved from a smaller collective called the Rainbow Group which was founded in 2001. While the Rainbow Group offered a digital haven for members of the Iranian LGBT community to exchange stories and information through email, Arsham Parsi, who in his early 20s, created PGLO.net in the hopes of providing more resources and services to a wider audience. At its founding, the new website boasted about 150 internet users a day, but was later banned and censored by the Iranian government only a few months after. [...]
[...] He urges to end the ignorance and silence in Syria regarding homosexuality, and encourages an attitude of tolerance and acceptance. One can only hope that one day, these ideas will flourish throughout the rest of the Middle East. But when one studies the latest Amnesty International reports and Human Rights Watch investigations as well as looks at the hate and bigotry still evident in today's so-called modernized societies (i.e.: USA), there seems to be an endless amount of arduous challenges. [...]
[...] And as long as the ayatollahs' constitutional Guardian Council exists in Iran and has its thumb on everything the government does, the situation will remain the same.” Mani's dire assessments of the government's subversive attacks against the gay community are unfortunately true, as noted by media coverage. The lack of support and discrimination is further magnified in terms of the AIDS population in Iran, Mani furthers that no laws protect the rights of those with AIDS, as hospitals reject AIDS patients, and doctors refuse to operate on HIV-positive patients. [...]
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