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The situation of homosexuals in the Middle-East

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  1. In Iran, sodomy is a crime that can be punishable by hanging.
  2. 2004 was declared the Year of Collaboration, Solidarity, and Unity of Homosexuals.
  3. Iran's attitude of intolerance stifles the country and prevents (scientific) education research regarding sexuality and orientation.
  4. PGLO.net remains the most informative resource on the internet for the Iranian LGBT community.
  5. News of the violent Efahan raid and wrongful imprisonment was vehemently denounced.
  6. The tumultuous and secret lives of gay Iranians can be manifested through the words of Mani.
  7. Religious fundamentalism in other countries in the Middle East continues to pervade the fabric of their societies.

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. [...]


[...] In August 2002, Reverend Jerry Fallwell commented on the reasons for the September 11 attacks: really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say 'You helped this happen'.? (Khaki) Even the less strict Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, whose penalty for sodomy is serving one year in prison, are becoming more and more intolerant of homosexuality. [...]

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