The Double-Edged Sword: Hypocrisy or Homophobia?

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08/07/2023

In recent days, videos of sexual relations allegedly involving a number of male officials of the Islamic Republic made the news. Reza Saghati, the dismissed director-general of Culture and Islamic Guidance in northern Gilan province and Hojatolislam Mahdi Haghshenas, former deputy of the Headquarters for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in the same province, are purportedly among the officials who appeared in videos depicting same-sex relations. Many media outlets outside Iran and also members of the opposition to the Islam Republic have adopted the wrong approach toward these events and have replicated the regime’s homophobia and anti-LGBTQ ideology by using words such as “sodomy” and “pederasty.” This misguided response has been criticized by the Iranian LGBTQ community and gender activists. In a statement on August 1, 6Rang (“Six Colors”), the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network, condemned this institutionalized homophobia. 6Rang said that the release of these videos “follows specific political and security purposes, which can range from internal conflicts among the officials of the Islamic Republic and distracting people’s minds…on the anniversary of the murder of Mahsa Amini or even purposes that are out of the scope of our speculation.”

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