Backlash in Iran after academic calls for 'removing gays' from Tehran

Backlash in Iran after academic calls for 'removing gays' from Tehran
Academic and theatre director Ghotboddin Sadegh has come under fire after saying he wants to 'purge' a Tehran district from the LGBTQ+ community.
2 min read
11 April, 2021
The academic made homophobic remarks [Getty]
Activists launched a petition against an Iranian academic and theatre director who was slammed for making homophobic remarks in an outrageous rant against the Iran's LGBTQ+ community.

Last month, Ghotboddin Sadegh told Online Art that the neighbourhood around Tehran City Theater had become "very shameful" because "turned into a place for thugs, offenders, and homosexuals who do not observe the cultural sanctity of this place".

In his homophobic rant, he called for the area "to be cordoned off" so it is "not corrupted", Iran Wire reported.

A group of 70 activists launched a petition against Sadegh's remarks, saying he's perpetuating the demonisation of Iran's oppressed LGBTQ+ community.

"Ghotboddin Sadeghi's stance is a continuation of a policy that criminalises the life of homosexuals, treats the bisexual society as sick and targets trans people with a call to stigmatise, marginalise and even eliminate this group from society," the activists said in a statement.

It went on to describe how the perpetuation of taboos and so-called scandals "link every issue and problem, from coronavirus to the vaccine and the insecure urban environment" to the LGBTQ community.

The activists added the stigma was routinely used by people hostile to the community "whenever they hit a deadlock" and said that "shouting and complaining in line with the government's policies implicates the LGBTQ+ community as the main cause or at least one of the causes of social problems".

In Iran, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death.

Transsexuality was legalised in Iran in 1987, which is second in the world in its number of trans surgeries.

A UN report released in February found that electric torture is imposed on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children in Iran. 

"The Special Rapporteur is also concerned at reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children were subjected to electric shocks and the administration of hormones and strong psychoactive medications," the report said.

"These practices amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and violate the State's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

The report highlights how LGBT persons experience discrimination as well as "reparative" therapies in Iran, and can face death penalty for same sex activities.

They are also tortured, beaten and raped by law enforcement and vigilantes, the report adds.

Senior officials describe the community in hateful terms, including by labelling individuals as "subhuman" and "diseased".

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