is the text of a letter from a gay Iranian who fled his country ending
up in Malaysia where he applied for asylum and registered with the
Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. It was sent
to the Iranian Queer Organisation in Toronto who issued it today
(February 21, 2008).
My name is Sepehr [alias used]. I was born and raised in
Iran, a country that kills people for falling in love. My government kills
homosexuals by asserting we are an enemy of GOD. My president denies us
even our existence as human beings when he claimed there are no homosexuals
in Iran during his speech at Columbia University.
If he can say there are no
homosexuals in Iran, it is because we cannot show ourselves. We stay hidden
because if we are visible they will lash us; they will hang us; they will
They tell us that we are fighting
with GOD by falling in love with the same sex. I want to understand that if
this is the case, then why has GOD created us like this? I have had great
difficulty in Iran and have never felt attracted to the opposite sex and my
whole life I have been confronted insecurity about this.
I have always felt like an outsider
and friends and acquaintances have often discussed my difference but I could
never change how I feel. When I began high school, the abuse started. This
left emotional scars.
Then I met someone from school who
changed my life. The feeling that existed between us finally gave new
meaning to my life. But this came at the cost of handcuffs and the hard
punches of the
My period of dejection began from
there. I understood that my feelings are sinful. I was afraid of everyone
and everything. I tried to straighten my life. I went to University and
learned English and this kept my thoughts occupied for a while, in a new
place and with new people who didn’t know me.
I eventually went to see a doctor
and realized that this is my nature and not a virus of some sort. But still
I was looking for answers to so many questions. I read books to understand
how I should relate to myself and my feelings.
It was at this point that I
realized that I have a right to a life of my own. I met a friend and
together we tried to put the past behind us. In a new town and with a new
life, I finally entered into a few good years.
But the effects of my sexual
identity had me trapped again and this good period of my life came to an
end. Again sadness; again loneliness. Am I sick? Do I have a disease? My
family abandoned me, and just because I love people of the same sex as me.
I left Iran by bus to Pakistan
because I was being threatened. If arrested, I risked being killed in a
public execution with no trial.
From Pakistan I went to Zimbabwe
and finally ended up in Malaysia in May 2007 where I applied for asylum and
registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commission for
Almost a year later, I have
completed my second interview and am now awaiting the results of this
For about eight months I have been
suffering here in Malaysia. In order to get money to eat, I went to the
hospital to sell one of my kidneys but they told me that it is illegal to
sell body parts in Malaysia. However, I have few options as I am not
allowed to work so acquiring those basic needs for survival are therefore
I am staying in a small town 45
kilometres from the capital city with no money to eat, and living
accommodations that leave me vulnerable to millions of insects that suck my
blood every night. I do not know what to do. I don’t even have money to buy
soap to wash my clothes.
I sit here now in this dying body
to write this letter to you. I am praying. I am crying. I am begging my
GOD to help me. I am planning to commit suicide but if I do that I will
lose so much, over 10 years of study, hard work and self-reflection to
figure out who I am.
I had plans. I wanted to write
books. I wanted to share my experiences. I wanted to help gay men to
better understand who they are.
I wanted to speak with people to
help them to understand that I deserve to live too. But this is my life now
and as I am writing this letter my life is over. But what I can't
understand is what I have done so wrong that I deserve to have my body burnt
by cigarettes. I can’t understand what I did wrong that I must be beaten
with a gun. But this is life.
I cannot make my plans with an
empty stomach. I cannot continue this life. I need your help now. Please
help to show me a more just life. I am still young. I want to be alive but
I don't know how. Please contact me and show me the way.
HELP ME NOW, TOMORROW IS TOO LATE.
I beg you.
I AM TIRED.
■ For more information and details of
how you can help, please visit the IRanian Queer Organisation website.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 21 February 2008 at
00:00 (UK time)