11/12/2009 | Writer: KAOS GL

December 1, 2009

A conversation with Hossein Alizadeh
An interview by Ernesto Pagano

Turkey and the Lebanon are the countries most tolerant of gays; Iran and Saudi Arabia are the most homophobic. The picture painted by Hossein Alizadeh, a young Iranian who is the spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHTC) with headquarters in New York, is that of a patchy Middle East, where on the one hand embryonic gay movements appear while on the other sentences against sodomy are ferociously applied.

Tell us about this organisation. When was it founded and what are its objectives?

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission was founded in 1990. Its mission is the emancipation of human rights for everyone, in all countries, to put an end to sexual discrimination, gender identity or restrictions to the expression of one's sexuality.

What are the most important problems faced by homosexuals in the Middle East?

Sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular are considered taboo by people and by the media. Many are only informed about homosexuality on the basis of what they have been taught by their religious leaders, who often speak of it as a sin, as well as gossip on the streets labelling gays as perverts. General ignorance has been exacerbated by laws on sodomy, whether based on Shari
Tags: human rights