Monday, April 09, 2007

They kill gay people, don't they?

This is the last night of the "Blog against Theocracy" blogswarm, and I'm all too happy to contribute.

Well. That's not exactly right. As Dave said, this turned out to be harder than I thought. There's almost too much to say and most of it's already been said. I collected dozens of articles for the occasion, only to revisit something that's been eating at me for ages.

You see, I'm a bit naive about some things. I know homophobia still pervades and poisons our culture. Approx once every six months or so, I still find myself in vein-popping 'conversations' with people about equal marriage.

But I could hardly contain myself when I read about what the LGBT community faces in Iran. I wrote about it at the time, June 1, 2006, in celebration of Canada Day. The original piece is sadly lost to the Star archives, but you can find it reprinted here. Doug Ireland has written extensively about this too. Here is the excerpt that verily brought me to tears:
Immigration lawyer Battista understands how difficult it is for many gay people to seek asylum in Canada.
"Often, they have spent a lifetime suppressing, hiding and lying about their sexual orientation to save their lives," says the lawyer, who has spent the past 14 years assisting gays and lesbians who fear harassment, torture and even death if Canada won't let them in. "Soon after they've arrived in Canada they are at a hearing, and they are asked to prove one, that they are homosexual, and two, that they cannot return home," says Battista, who leads about 40 homosexual refugee applicants through the process each year.
"In many cases, they haven't directly experienced problems of persecution. Because the conditions are so oppressive, they are too fearful to express their sexual orientation or sexual identity in any sense."
Battista recalls one of his earliest clients being an older man from Iran who was seeking protection based on his sexual orientation. "But he couldn't even say the words. He was at the airport in tears of frustration trying to explain to the immigration officer why he was seeking asylum in Canada, and he was saying, `It's because of who I am. It's because of who I am,' and the officer was asking, `Is it political? Is it religious?'
"And finally the officer said, `Are you gay?' And the poor man burst into tears. That was the first time there had been an official recognition of who he was, his sexual orientation. That story will always stay with me."
I know it's hard to be shocked in this day & age, but I confess: I felt totally destroyed at the thought of it: state sponsored torture and execution of gays. In 2006. While everybody watches on...

I did some digging and found the website for the "Persion Gay & Lesbian Organization." The PGLO finds its headquarters in...Toronto!
Due to the existing government censorship and other limitations in Iran, PGLO became a registered organization and began its activities in Norway, but the majority of our friends and allies remain in Iran. We have now decided to register IRanian Queer Organization - IRQO in Toronto, Canada and open our main office there, and we will expand our activities from there.
{ is also an important resource for news and information--including that 'lost' TorStar article!}

But not everyone believes what they read. Some need to see it with their own two eyes. At this point, I want you to take the time to watch "Out in Iran," a doc produced for CBC Sunday:

If the video fails on the CBC site then run, don't walk to Youtube and watch the film there (part I, part II, and part III).

This is what theocracy looks like. And lest you accuse me of 'picking' on Iran, do I need to remind you of this? Not close enough to home? Have a look at this...

...and go back and watch that video.

Good night & Gawd bless.


Blogger BAC said...

They do kill gay people, but unfortunately, so do people in this country. My heart broke as I read a message last week from Equality Florida about a young man who had been stabbed to death. The two guys who killed him, then drove around town with his dead body, to show off to their friends what they had done.

Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old Polk County resident, had done nothing to them. He was simply a gay man, and that was too much for these homophobes to deal with.

They are trying to use "gay panic" as a defense, but all of Ryan's friends say that is absurd.

For the past few years Religious Right leaders have been demonizing gay people in an attempt to mobilize their followers to go vote. Republican's have helped by dragging out a proposed federal marriage amendment every two years -- since "gay marriage" is only an important family values issue in election years.

When a group of people are demonized enough, individuals like the two monsters in Florida think they have license to kill a young man, simply because he is gay.

The animals who murdered Ryan are fairly young men, who deserve to be put away for a very, very, very long time. And it won't happen too soon for me.


4/09/2007 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the very thoughtful response, Bac! I had not heard Ryan Skipper's murder. I will make an effort to look for followups on his case and the hatefilled thugs who did this to him.
Best wishes to you--GDK

4/10/2007 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see you again, GDKitty! Been offline and moved my blog back to blogger, etc. so I didn't end up reading alot of the theocracy posts until way after the fact. I obviously didnt get to them all, but think its great that so many responded to the blogswarm.

I will grab your button while I'm here...

I think its tragic when lives are lost senselessly no matter what the motive, and find that the only hope is that it is becoming less common and we as a society are less tolerant of hate crimes than we used to be and of gay bashing, prejudice, etc. We are not "there" of course but we are making strides i think as a society. Thats the only way I can really look at it.

Hope that in the future, things will get better and better.

Every time a wingnut though fans the flames, it sets us back. Thats why we who oppose them must be vocal.

Please keep in touch!

5/01/2007 11:50 AM  
Blogger Godammitkitty said...

Hi Lily! Great to have you back for a visit :)

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Love the new look of your blog, too!! All the best to you---GDK

5/01/2007 6:41 PM  

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