NEWS > EVERYONE ELSE > IRANIAN DEATH TOLL REMAINS UNKNOWN BUT BELIEVED TO BE MOSTLY GAY
IRANIAN DEATH TOLL REMAINS UNKNOWN BUT BELIEVED TO BE MOSTLY GAY
July 15 2009
Tehran, Iran – With more than month since the controversial presidential election in Iran sporadic rioting continues. The debated and frustrated electoral process that sustained Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power caught the world’s attention as rioters protested the results and by proxy the entire nature of democracy in the country.
Those riots were of course punctuated by brutal crackdowns by police and members of the Republican Guard, leading to very public deaths and public outcry across the world. Now a month since the riots first began more than 500 people are still missing and many suspect that the death toll may be significantly higher than the 20 that have been officials reported.
Along with that suspicion is an accusation from GLAAD that a number of the missing are declared or undeclared gay and lesbian people. Though officially Iran is gay-free, homosexuals of all variety have been spotted in the country. The organization is now accusing the country of using the riots as an excuse to crackdown on the few remaining gay and lesbian strongholds in the country and making them disappear into
the infamous Iranian black bags. Iranian officials for their part have made little comment on the sexual persuasion of captured rioters but it is believed that many of them were taken in during Tehran’s gay pride parade, which coincided with the election riots.
“We have seen a shocking decline in contact throughout Iran. We do fully understand that there are no gay people in Iran but we nonetheless have a lot of contacts and a lot of supporters there, many of which we have lost touch with in the last month. That makes us suspect that the country is using this election chaos as a way to crack down on people who don’t toe the line and engage in heterosexual sex,” said David Cambert,
spokesperson for GLAAD. “It might be a leap to say that this entire chaotic election was simply manufactured in order to imprison gay and lesbian people but I wouldn’t put it past them. With this kind of shield they can still successfully claim that the country is gay-free and always has been.”
It’s not clear what may or may not have happened to the missing protestors, gay or straight. Iran has no official policy on what they do with imprisoned homosexuals, largely because the country doesn’t allow anything vaguely gay, even imprisonment.
“It is definitely a stretch to think that the riots were a cover for rounding up gay people. Iranian officials like to crackdown on lots of things. It could have been democracy, free speech, or any other innumerable things that
caused them to crackdown so harshly. They may have used the opportunity to pull some suspected homosexuals out of the society but it’s very unlikely that they would have thrown the country into chaos to eliminate something that officially doesn’t exist,” said Scrape TV International analyst Gustav Hander. “I have no doubt though that the Gay pride celebrations were hindered a bit by the riots, and of course by the fact that there are no gay people to celebrate.”
Iranian officials have gone on the record stating that the low number of deaths is due in large part to direction given to military and police officials to stop shooting people in the head which according to reports from within country has been largely successful.
“Whether or not they are making gay people disappear isn’t really the issue. People seem to be disappearing and that should be the concern. Their sexual orientation or other such superficial concerns really shouldn’t be what we are concerned about. We have moved beyond the point when a person is judged based on their sexual preference,” continued Hander. “Even in Iran that is the case. Of course it is much easier there because there are no gay people to throw a wrench into the works. People disappear in Iran for all kinds of reasons but thankfully, being gay isn’t one of them.”
No gay people we talked to were in Iran.