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Germany says “Time to hide” to Iranian lesbian, denies asylum

08/07/2012
homosexuality is a disease

homosexuality is a disease (Photo credit: istolethetv)

Samira Ghorbani Danesh, 24, says she fled Iran for fear of repression for being a lesbian. A German court has denied her asylum request, ruling that she can live unbothered back in her native country so long as she hides her homosexuality.

BAYREUTH – One of her last memories of Iran is a noisy party. It was back in 2009, and some 50 young people had gathered in a Tehran apartment. “We were happy, a lot of us were dancing.”

“At the party, I wanted to get a little air and I went out on the balcony,” she recalls. Looking down at the street she got the fright of her life: there were three dark cars lined up, and heavy-set men were getting out of them.

“Every kid in Iran knows these people – members of the secret police. Drinking alcohol is forbidden in Iran; so is western music,” she says. And then there was the fact that at this party, the guys were kissing guys, and the women were kissing women.

“I was 15 or 16 when I realized I was a lesbian,” Samira says. But homosexuality in Iran is not only a social taboo. “If you’re caught, you go to jail,” says Katayun Pirawardi, also from Iran, who has been living in Germany since 1977.

Today, Pirawardi, 49, is involved with a Berlin-Brandenburg lesbian and gay association, but she knows the situation of gays and lesbians in Iran all too well. “If you can, you get out,” she says. The ones who stay have to keep their sexual orientation hidden. “People are very rarely arrested on charges of homosexuality. The authorities make up some kind of other charge.”

The court did recognize that homosexuality is punishable in Iran –with the death penalty for men; 100 lashes for women, and the death penalty after a fourth charge. “The judge in Bayreuth had some doubts about the plaintiff’s claims that the police were after her,” a court spokesperson told Die Welt.

The court reached the verdict that she could live safely if she simply practiced the “unobtrusive way of life practiced by all homosexuals in Iran who don’t want any trouble.”

By Silke Mülherr
DIE WELT/Worldcrunch
»Germany Denies Asylum To Iranian Lesbian, Suggests More “Discreet Lifestyle”

* Samira Ghorbani Danesh, Iranian Lesbian, Told To Hide Identity After Being Denied German Asylum

* Vogue in Iran (1969)

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