We at Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) have been in existence for three years, and through this period we have become recognized by many gay and lesbian organizations throughout the world. We base most of our activities on Internet communication. We must communicate solely by Internet as we do not have the freedom to work in a public forum in our country.
We do not have any sponsors locally in Iran as the religious extremists do not support gay rights, but would rather see all lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people silenced.
However, we are recognized by individuals and organizations that have been generous in their financial, political, and moral support. Our main objective in PGLO is to bring about a safe environment for all [queers] in Iran whether it be at home, work, school, or in public. We want freedom from harassment, torture, imprisonment and religious intolerance.
I am the spokesperson of this organization, but let me add that I see and value this job far beyond what a regular employee might.
It is the most important thing in my life to be the spokesperson. It is a strong love and devotion that I have within me. There is a music of freedom that is in my heart. It is bursting inside me. I want everybody to hear this music, this music of freedom that my brothers and sisters in Iran cannot hear or are not allowed to hear.
I became the spokesperson voluntarily because a voice was needed to be heard above the shrill cries of gay condemnation of the Islamic government.
When my transsexual friend committed suicide under the pressure of her society and her family, and I saw her withered body and cold contracted hands on her breast, I became the spokesperson.
When my friend, Nima, a young gay man took his life due to police brutality and under the pressure of his family by eating arsenic, and I saw his lifeless body that slept like a beautiful angel, I heavily cried and I became the spokesperson.
When I saw my friends in the hallways of the central court of Shiraz, and heard their cries of pain from the lashes that had tortured them, I cried too.
But this also made me stronger in my desire to speak out.
I learned about a gay couple that had celebrated with a private function their new lives together.
The security forces discovered this celebration and started to trace this couple. Fortunately, they were able to escape detention, and one of them could escape to Turkey.
But we surely know that not many other gay people in Iran have been that successful at saving their lives.
When the Islamic government forbade transsexuals access of to the public buildings in the big cities of Iran, when a gay man was severely beaten in a park in central Tehran, when another gay man was sentenced to the lash in Esfahan, when a group of my friends were detected in chat rooms and entrapped by the police, when another transsexual was severely beaten to the point where she lost 50 percent of her hearing in one ear, when gays were verbally and sexually abused in a police station in some cities of Iran, there was no one to speak for them and to reveal to the world what Iranian gays suffer.
We have a critical situation in Iran that must be resolved. Thus, I became the spokesperson of PGLO to air the grievances and to show the world the true situation of the persecutions we suffer. I call upon all noble-minded people to stop, listen, and make an effort to help us.
I had to escape from my homeland when a death warrant was issued by the Islamic government.
That is how the Islamic government rewards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans for speaking out for human rights.
I have gone through many hardships in reaching my new homeland. Today, I am truly glad to be in a supportive and modern society that is progressive and which understands exactly how I feel.
I am speaking tonight because so many of my brothers and sisters are caged birds, unable to sing a song of freedom. I was able to take a flight of freedom through the efforts of PGLO and your help.
Other birds are waiting to fly freely. They need to see a dawn of freedom in Iran. I am positive that this glorious dawn is not too far from now. I am determined to register PGLO in Toronto, and to have an office where I can conduct the efforts of PGLO.
Iranian queer people need to be in a direct and tangible relationship with an organization that claims to be their voice in a broader spectrum. How can they finely experience the sweet taste of unity and togetherness while sitting lonely in their rooms?
I have arrived in Canada with a burden of responsibility of working for my friends. With your help we can achieve all we set out to do. I have received a welcome in Canada by very warm hands and I am sure that my hands will be taken with more hands.
These lonely shivering hands are the representatives of all of the hands of Iranian lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans. Take my hands as their representatives and support us.
Do not forget Iranian lesbians and gays. Do not leave us alone.