Yesterday morning, when I was going through my mail, and I saw this appeal from IGLHRC, I was moved. Yes, I appreciate the fact that I live in a country that is deeply unappreciative of my sexuality. But there are some which are worse.
That a guy of 21 should be sentenced to death for some acts of sex when he was 13 was extremely troubling to me. My sense of justice was outraged. Sincerely, common humanity and a sense of justice would stop a country from carrying out this kind of thing, whether in the name of god or not! Then, someone, ssB commented that I was over-blowing things. My sense of the pathetic went into overdrive. I accused the Islamic Republic of genocide.
Of course I have no evidence of what I wrote. Yet at the same time, the logic is not far off course. To accept that there are homosexuals in Iran is to cast doubt on no less an authority than its seating president! And the fact is that, homosexuals have been hanged regularly in Iran since the Islamic Revolution.
But I was struck by ssB’s sense that I was overly dramatic. Maybe I am. Or maybe I misunderstood what he or she meant.
Is it worth it fighting for gay rights in
The price is high. But the alternative is too costly.
Recently an acquaintance, a kuchu (gay Ugandan) died suddenly. I remember when we last talked, it was soon after the Red rug came out with the names of those that were presumed to be gay. His name was there. He was not happy. He went deeper into the closet. He had had a very unhappy experience being outed before, so he really feared this kind of scenario. But he was a natural prey. A man who was known to be or rumoured to be gay, with a standing in society which was significant. He was deeply closeted. Very deeply closeted. He literally feared getting to a place where there were more than 5 kuchus, because he feared that he would be ‘outed’ again. And when the red rug came out with his name, he was not happy. He was very stressed.
He died recently, of an unrelated cause (I think). But his is a life that I would not like to live. In fear. In hiding, all the time, from the very shadow of myself. I am gay. That is a fact. I am a homosexual. That is a fact. I did run away from it when I was much younger. But no longer. I do not want to deny myself for what I am, because I am gay. I will not hide it from myself. I want my friends to acknowledge it, and remember that it is just a part of me. Different from them. Not bad, just different.
I would not like to leave under the shadow of blackmail. I would not like to live under the shadow of a mob stoning me just because someone mentions that I am gay. My life without acknowledging my sexuality is a sham and lie that I would not like to live. I do not want any other human being to grow up thinking that he or she is sub-standard because they are like me in sexuality. I want them to be knowledgeable, with the knowledge that is common to the world. Not to fear disease, sickness, HIV. Not to live under a perpetual fear of being outed and executed, because a former lover changes his mind on what occurred in the past.
I am seeking a freedom that is abstract. For me, for other gay Ugandans, for those who are out there in the world like this young Iranian Makvan Mouloodzadeh. Most likely he will die, but I will not lie back and deny myself and do nothing, when I do live under the same kind of shadow. His fate is my fate. His life is my life. His pain is my pain. Most likely he will be hanged in public. But I am still alive. Should other gay Iranians suffer a similar fate or worse?
Yet the price is high. I remember the look of a colleague when he figured out that I am gay. He was disappointed in me. I could see it written in his face, but then, I was certainly not asking for his approval. I know many of my colleagues are talking. Few have come up to me personally, and those who did just wanted ‘confirmation’ of one kind or another. Professionally I may have shot myself in the foot. That remains to be seen.
Is it worth it?
Yes it is. The option is forgetting that I am a human being, and letting myself be trampled underfoot. It has to be, because I am a human being.