Exiled Iranian pop star Googoosh has released a music video, titled “Behesht,” supporting lesbian relationships. In the video, a couple’s relationship is shown from a point-of-view perspective, revealing that both are women only in the final shot, echoing the popular Australian “It’s Time” marriage-equality ad. “The end of this road is not clear. I know this, just like you do,” Googoosh sings. “Don’t tell me to stop loving. You can’t do that and I can’t either.”
Many popular Iranian singers left the country after the 1979 revolution, but Googoosh stayed on in silence until 2000, when she finally left and resumed her singing career. Her dedication to the country has made her popular in Iran, even in exile.
The director of the video, Navid Akhavan, says that he has heard a strong reaction to the video from Iranians who watched it inside the country through illegal channels.
“The reactions we have seen so far have been tremendous. The comments I have read online and the messages I have received from people within the Iranian LGBT community have brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “We knew from the start that because of its topic the video is going to be very controversial among Iranians. That’s why we expected negative feedback, too, but that hasn’t bothered me, nor Googoosh.”
Homosexuality remains illegal in Iran and is punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment or death.