According to the PGLO, the Iranian penal code expressly forbids same-sex desire and punishes homosexual acts with death by hanging, stoning, or beatings. The two youths, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, were publicly executed in July 2005 in the city of Mashad. Their executions are only part of a long reign of terror imposed by the religious fundamentalist regime in Terehan.
The protests are scheduled for July 19th in numerous cities around the world, including Paris, London, Moscow, Brussels, and New York, as well as several cities throughout the US. In New York, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has called for a demonstration at the Iranian Mission of the United Nations at Third Avenue and 40th street at 5 p.m.
Other organizations that have endorsed the international protests include the France-based International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and UK-based Outrage.
1. End all executions in Iran, especially the execution of minors.
2. Stop the arrest, torture and imprisonment of Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and repeal the Iranian penal code's criminalization of same-sex relationships.
3. Halt the deportation to Iran of LGBT asylum seekers and other victims of Tehran's persecution.
4. Support Iranians struggling for democracy, social justice and human rights.
5. Oppose foreign military intervention in Iran; regime change must come from within - by and for the Iranian people themselves.
Arsham Parsi, an Iranian gay man who fled Iran to Canada just a little more than a year ago and founded the PGLO, echoed this last demand. Referring to the religious fundamentalist regime in Iran, Parsi told PA in an interview that "we can not remove this culture by war."
"We are anti-war," he says. Even if regime change occurred tomorrow, he noted, the situation for gays and lesbians in Iran would be little different. Some people who want regime change in Iran may opportunistically use the atrocities against Iran's gay community to criticize the regime, but they do not sincerely believe in full equality, Parsi adds. "We believe we have just one way, send true information in Iran and when people get information they can support us."
For now, Iran's gay and lesbian communities have no public allies inside Iran, according to Parsi.
But Parsi expressed great hope in the international community of LGBT people. "In my opinion," Parsi says, "all of the LGBTs all around the world are a family, a global family, and we should support each other and we will be successful."
For more information about protests in the US, click here.
--Joel Wendland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org