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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Essay on Homophobia - Homosexuals in Iran

Essay on Homophobia

Homophobia is a term that is associated with negative attitudes, feelings, perceptions and beliefs about homosexuality.  It is defined as the fear of lesbians and gay men and engaging in certain behavior based on this feeling.  It must however be stressed that homophobia is actually a misnomer as it is not an actual phobia.  Realistically speaking, persons who are homophobic do not actually have a fear or contempt for gay or lesbians.  In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas, homophobia originates not out of fear or anxiety but from feelings of disgust. (“Disgust, Not Fear, Drives Homophobia, Say University of Arkansas Psychologists” 1)  Thus, contrary to other phobias homophobia is not a psychopathological condition but a social attitude against gays.

One of the countries that have been accused of being homophobic is Iran.  In fact, issues of homophobia in Iran have reached the international sphere in view of the execution in 2005 of two men for alleged homosexual activity.  Moreover, President Ahmadinejad was also reported to have said in front of an audience in Columbia University that there are homosexuals in Iran.  He said “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your countries.  In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t known who has told you that we have it.”(Stefanie Balogs 1)

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In Iran, homosexuality and same sex sexual act even between two consenting adults are considered crimes.  Articles 108 to 134 of the of the Islamic Republic’s Penal Code imposes specific punishments which range from 60 lashes to execution for men and women who will be found guilty of homosexual acts.  Article 123 of the same law states that “If two men, unrelated to one another, lie, without necessity, naked under the same cover, they will each be punished by up to 99 lashes of the whip.”  Article 110 also imposes the death penalty for sodomy.  Because of these laws, thousands of Iranians have been coerced, intimidated and harassed in their own homes, arrested, tortured and subjected to cruel punishment and even execution.  According to Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF), it has documented at least 146 cases of executions of individuals charged with a homosexual act since 1979.

There are many reasons why a person or a particular culture may be considered homophobic.  One of the most common reasons why some persons or culture may be homophobic is that they have strong religious beliefs that disapprove of sex and/or homosexuality.  It does not actually come as a surprise because of the religions in Islam.  Historically, one of the teachings of Zoroastrianism, the religion prior to the arrival of Islam in Iran, is that homosexuals are inherently demonic and that persons who are found to be homosexuals are immediately put to death. 

Islam also forbids any sexual relationship other than a relationship between a man and a woman.  There are various verses in Quran which have been interpreted to mean that Allah is against homosexuality 
We also (sent) Lut: he said to his people: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? "For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." - Holy Quran 7:80-81
"Of all the creatures in the world will ye approach males". "And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!" - Holy Quran 26:165-166

It is however wrong to say that all persons in Iran are homophobic.  In fact, some persons in Iran are more tolerant of the sexual preferences of other people.  The only reason why it seems that Iranians are homophobic is because of their religion. 

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Related Posts:

1.  Essay on Culture and Homophobia

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