Pooya: We even have problems with groceries. Once I was coming out of a grocery store, the security men stopped me and began to check my body. They intended to molest me. They touched my hips. What could I hide there?! Was there any other intention than molesting me?! I am so sad that I am humiliated even here.
Soroosh: The condition is so bad. We can hardly warm our houses during winter.
Our things were about to burn several times as we were forced to warm the house by coal and wood and sleep the whole night while wearing our jackets.
AP: How do your overcome your living expenses?
We have no support from anywhere. Even after UN assistance and attending a financial interview, they pay us around $100 monthly while we must pay at least $200 for renting a home. We are deep into trouble but we have to be patient and suffer everything. We can not do anything. We have to be patient.
Nowadays in western countries, it is common for couples to live together and share a life without officially marrying. It is interesting to know why homosexuals with relations traditionally like this are looking for marriage.
Pooya: I am not talking about homosexuals in the west. In Iran even two men are not allowed to live in one house and should explain it to many people.
They don’t rent home to singles and etc. Therefore living with the sexual partner is not possible and the couples are forced to have only phone calls or distant relations.
Soroosh: I like to marry a man officially and I want a permanent relation from my marriage. Marriage is the minimum peace in life. I know that divorce also exists but for me equality is so important. I should have the same rights that a heterosexual does - the right to marry and establish a family. It is not right to claim that marriage is only exclusive to heterosexuals. Some heterosexuals do not like to marry and some do. In general, marriage should not be a right solely for heterosexuals but for all humans. We can either use this right or not. Same sex marriage is not a must, but it is our right.
Pooya: I am still not sure if I want to get married or not, but I am sure that I don’t want to be played by others. I want to dedicate my love solely to one person and I want him to do the same. I want a healthy and peaceful life.
Soroosh: One of the reasons for this issue is that we gays have always been played and abused. At the beginning of any acquaintance, the person we are with says they are in love and will commit forever. However after they abuse us, they bring excuses and that is all. Unfortunately there are lots of these abusers in Iran. They have difficulties in bonding with girls so they are forced to do it with boys. They are not homosexuals but they have sex with the same gender due to their conditions. Due to all these failures, I want to get married and become secure.
AP: Dear Soroosh, how did your professor rape you?
Soroosh: My university professor closed the door and raped me. I could not do any thing. He should have confirmed my final thesis. When I wanted to get out of his office, he put his hand on the door and said: “I like you and want to have sex with you.” He forced me to have sex with him. I didn’t want it; he threatened that he wouldn’t let me graduate. I could neither shout nor ask for help. I could not tell anyone as it would cause me problems. Everybody would say I was lying and no one would doubt him. He was both a heterosexual man and a university professor. I had to keep quiet for my reputation.
AP: What is the main social problem for homosexuals?
Pooya: Due to these ideas, most of the times they pressure homosexuals to do wrong things that have severe consequences. Like marriage to a girl which causes misery for the two sides. They force a couple to marry and a poor homosexual does this when he has no other option. Most of the time, this matter results in divorce and no body recognizes the cause - forcing a homosexual guy to get married. One of my homosexual friends was forced to marry. I asked him how he was satisfied. He said that he fantasized his wife as a guy during sex! I really got sad. He was forced to get married due to family pressures. I know lots of gays who married like this and all have problems.
Soroosh: Many gays commit suicide to avoid such fates. However, those who get married are in a permanent suicide. They are tortured when they see their children as they have betrayed some human beings by their silence. They might claim that they have a good life but what they are suffering is misery.
Nowadays there is an organization for everything like women, victims, addicted people, or runaways. But the only organization that works for homosexuals is coroner which either certifies a rape act or a burial permission.
AP: Everyone likes to help but no one knows how. What is your plan?
Soroosh: If my financial condition becomes well, I will definitely give part of my income to organizations like yours which are really working. I’ve know your organization since a long time ago and I know you helped many of us. I have read your magazine and I have learnt quite a lot.
Pooya: I am ready to do any help. I am even ready to appear in the media.
Soroosh: To achieve a goal, you need to make sacrifices. If we are looking for freedom we have to do lots of things and overcome our fears. I am willing to suffer on this arduous road for the sake of others, so they may be able to walk the next steps. Especially those who get out of Iran should not forget the others left behind. They should not think now that they’re safe they can forget about the past. What is happening to those who are still under pressure? We all should become united for the sake of our generation and the next generation.
Pooya: We should never forget that a baby who might be gay could be born by tomorrow. Should s/he suffer all the problems from scratch?!
translated by Ramin. For full text, go to The Iranian Queer Organization website.
This interview was
Iranian Queer Organization – IRQO
Formerly Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization – PGLO www.irqo.net