Despair in Iran
On Saturday June 20, the Islamic regime carried its violations of human rights of the past 30 years further. The people’s desire to choose their government peacefully in a fair election was frustrated by the regime and the supreme leader with deception and imposition of force.
What the people of Iran want is democracy and free elections even if these are secured within the framework of an Islamic republic. But apparently, an Islamic republic is unlikely to give way to democracy.
In the hands of the Government today, the citizenry’s lives are subjected to horrible violence, as is their hope for democracy and a just society.
Still we fear the grave reality is not yet understood by outsiders. We know our realities can sound like passages from an Eastern tale. For this reason, queer students in Iran feel compelled to tell of these tragic measures and to stand witness.
If Ahmadinejad, backed by the supreme leader, managed a coup against the elected president of Iran, Mir Hosein Musavi, and seeks to divert the course of democracy, our hope and our goal is to not allow this to happen.
The Islamic regime of Iran, with its history of human rights violations, suppression of minorities and targeting of homosexuality by threat of execution, has chosen to repress democratic aspirations and demolish civil institutions in order to further its control of people’s lives in a widespread, veiled brutality.
The homosexual community of Iran has been living under harsh conditions of harassment and fear.
Iranian queers have been struggling with the merciless oppressive regime for years.
We urge the international LGBT community to hear our voice and hear the people of Iran in their demand for new elections. We fear that in the days to come, if the dictator wins, a generation -” our generation -” will simply be eliminated.
-” Homosexual Students of Universities in Iran
ACON’s Stevie Clayton [SSO 976] welcomes Fatty Vautin’s offer to appear on the online anti-homophobia This is Oz. Great idea.
I feel more will be achieved by this than by a court case that I am sure Channel 9’s legal team won’t be squirming about. I have asked around a diverse group of gays would they contribute to a self-interested fund to fight this case and the majority says no way.
Also in this issue, Phill’s letter, -˜Burns vs Footy Show’, asks the gay community to contribute to a fighting fund for Gary Burns to fight a defamation case against a skit on The Footy Show. Phill, I am sure lots of gays aren’t interested in your request for funds for Gary Burns. Move on.
In relation to the Letter of the Week written by Aaron, entitled -˜Privileged’ (SSO 974) and to the response by Alan, entitled -˜Lucky Country’ (SSO 975).
Notwithstanding the nature of the documentary, Transsexual in Iran, and the importance of the subject matter, there are overtones in both letters which worry me, least not for the fact that Aaron’s letter was given over as the Letter of the Week.
The issue for me is the use of the terms -˜privilege’ and -˜privileged’.
I agree we are privileged to be living in a country that protects our basic human rights to freedom of sexual orientation and freedom from discrimination, but to the suggestion these rights are a privilege or we are privileged to have these rights, I do not concur.
Our basic human rights, being free association and the freedom to not be discriminated against on the basis of race, creed, sex and sexual orientation, are what I am referring to and to which it appears the terms at issue are being applied and reinforced, particularly by the prominent placement of Aaron’s letter.
These rights are constantly challenged and there are groups that would seek to erode what we have fought so hard and so long to attain and must continue to fight to enhance and maintain.
I simply ask, is the viewpoint of the SSO that human rights are a privilege and in a similar vein to the use of the pejorative term -˜un-Australian’ against, for example, Muslims, that those within the GLBT community (being part of what is a marginalised group) need to comply with a majority-held perception of what is an acceptable way of being to preserve that privilege?
Your rights are not a privilege, nor are you privileged to have these rights in legislation. They are a means of enshrining and protecting basic human rights and the ability to express who you are.
On a chilly Saturday morning my friend and I braved the drunken crowd for entry into Phoenix Rising.
We’d remained sober all night in anticipation of a fun morning. We were refused entry after a 40 minute wait from a door man who claimed we looked too -˜flushed’ to enter (the cold chill and the early hour having nothing to do with our complexion, I’m sure).
This was after seeing scores of mainly straight, intoxicated groups gain swift entry into a club that I assumed was a refuge for the gay crowd.
How can a girl who is falling from her heels gain entry into the club and a pair of gay guys with -˜flushed’ faces be refused? What are the criteria for entry into Phoenix these days if they’re letting the drunk straight crowd in and insultingly blocking entry to two quiet, sober gays?
There were even police on the door whose presence clearly achieved nothing and still allowed the baffling bouncer discrimination. The cops being there was no excuse -” was it because they assumed the gays would be the drunken, drugged ones or that we were easier targets to single out? It’s not fair and further shows the deterioration of the scene and the shamefulness of bouncer bias.
I have been fighting for legal recognition of my relationships since I was in my teens. For over 30 years I have known a downside for our community would be losing the only advantage of being queer in our society, single Centrelink benefits.
Of course I didn’t expect to be on a disability pension but I am. I sucked it up and reported. I even joked with the Centrelink person on the phone that it was great that now I got to be treated as badly as everyone else.
I will be losing money. I had thought they would let me know how much before July 1. In fact I thought that was why I was reporting early. No details have appeared despite receiving a letter thanking me for providing the information.
So much for planning ahead.
I was listening to a spokesperson from Centrelink being interviewed on ABC702 Sydney this morning (around 8.45) and the impression that came across was that all gay couples have to notify Centrelink of their relationship. I rang the ABC straight away and asked that they clarify this to mean clients of Centrelink. As I write this (10.47) they still haven’t done this.
All this talk of ‘sensivity training’ for staff just made me laugh: sensitivity is not a concept Centrelink understands, particularly when you have very young counter staff dealing with older people. I feel sorry for gays in country centres where the right to privacy is harder to maintain.
I’m all for the changes to the law, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the Centrelink ones should have been -˜grandfathered’. What I really hate is the hypocrisy of the government in leaving the one major area of discrimination alone -” marriage -” while patting themselves on the back over the law changes.
We register cats and dogs and now gay people? The federal Government does not give us protection in equal opportunity, does not recognise our relationship by not allowing us the right of marriage, but expects us to recognise them?
A single gay person is not even counted on the census but a Catholic is.
When the Government starts to respect me it may well get some respect back. If my partner is injured in hospital it is up to me to prove I have a relationship before I can see him. Centrelink is very perverse in its view of us as some sort of animal.
Mr Rudd still does not get it. Respect needs to happen both ways in order to have a good relationship.
So it is possible that even a heterosexual male living with another heterosexual male in Australia will be harassed, vilified and attacked by Centrelink for payments. It is high time I move to Sweden.
Face it, Centrelink is treating homosexuality like it’s taboo by secretly trying to educate same-sex couples on their new entitlements.
It’s like Centrelink is too scared to publicly reveal to the general heterosexual public that they now recognise same-sex couples but they don’t care. After all, who cares about GLBT people?
It’s seriously a joke how it’s been handled.