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Equal Despite Difference: A campaign to reduce homophobia in Iran
The Equal Despite Difference campaign aims to create a new culture in Iranian society which respects sexual rights and sexual orientation, through awareness raising (amongst the general public, as well as gay and lesbian communities) and strengthening solidarity and support among lesbians.
Homosexuality is criminalized in Iran under the penal code, and can be punishable by death. The stigma surrounding same sex relations has led to a ‘culture’ of homophobic violence in the country, and lesbians, once outed, may be lashed, beaten, raped, tortured and killed. The direct goal of the campaign is to reduce violence against lesbians in Iranian society.
A meeting between 22 Iranian lesbians took place from November 19-21 in Frankfurt. The participants discussed strategies for collective actions to fight homophobia and violence against lesbians in Iranian society both within and outside Iran, and especially in cyberspace. Participants came from a range of countries including Germany, Sweden, Austria, UK, as well as Iran, and a few individuals living in asylum in Turkey participated in the discussions via Skype.
A public event will also take place in Hanover on November 30 where a member of the Equal Despite Difference campaign will present on violence against women and homophobia in Iranian society.
The campaign will also be launching a new website, the Iranian Lesbian Network – watch this space!