As we celebrate the recent victory for equality in California and
gear up to continue working to secure equality for all of our
families, it can be hard to keep in mind the issues facing members
of our community globally.
I was horrified to read today about Mehdi Kazemi, a nineteen year old gay Iranian man who was recently
granted political asylum in Britain. Kazemi, who left Iran in
2005 to study abroad, feared for his life after learning that his
lover, charged with sodomy, had been hanged. It took Kazemi almost
three years to obtain asylum: his application was initially denied
in Britain and then in the Netherlands. Thankfully, on Tuesday,
Britain’s Border Control Agency announced that it would grant
asylum for Kazemi.
Many others, though, will not be as lucky and are forced to either
hide their sexual identities or face paying with their lives. I
can’t believe that in this day and age, someone can still be
legally killed for having a consensual, adult relationship with
someone of the same sex. And yet, in eight countries homosexual
acts are punishable by death, and in more than eighty countries
sodomy is still illegal. In contrast, in only five countries and now two U.S. states is
same-sex marriage legal. That skewed ratio tells me that it
continues to be essential that we know what is going on globally in
terms of GLBT rights and take action where we can.
If you’re interested in reading more about GLBT human rights work
globally, check out Amnesty
International’s Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity campaign.
For another article about GLBT issues in Iran, click here.