Iranian LGBT Activists Protest in Tehran (Slideshow)

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), May 17, included events in countries which keep 1.5 BILLION people under laws that criminalize same sex relationships. The day saw first-ever public events in many places, including Burma, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates — and Iran.

An album of photos of activists on public transport holding signs which say “No to homophobia and transphobia” in Persian, waving the rainbow flag from the mountains overlooking Tehran and releasing balloons in rainbow colors has been uploaded to JoopeA News, an “online comunity aim to free world and human rights.”

Many of the photos show activists with the flag or the signs covering their faces. You can click through to see more photos.

They also launched a “Homophilia” campaign on Facebook, which has an enormous take-up in Iran, despite the authorities’ best efforts.

Some even distributed brochures in Tehran.

With reports coming in from all over the world, the 2012 edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia seems like it will be breaking new records. Despite threats, IDAHO events were successfully held in St Petersberg, defying the ‘Don’t say Gay’ law, Serbia and Albania, where activists rode bikes down the main boulevard in Tirana, protected by police (video here).

In Asia, most countries are on the ‘IDAHO map’, with cancellation of activities in Malaysia due to threats being one of the sad moments of this year’s celebrations. In South Korea, the day was marked for the first time.

At the UN level, the heads of UNAIDS and UNDP marked the day and added their voices to the High Commissioner for Human Rights who recorded a video ahead of the day. The pan-American section of the World Health Organization issued a groundbreaking scientific position paper against the so-called ‘conversion therapies.’ UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke out on May 17 to invite world leaders to “tackle violence against LGBT people, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination and educate the public.”

The Council for Global Equality commemorated the day with the release of an NGO guide – “Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders.”

The guide highlights the various diplomatic tools that U.S. embassies use to advance a range of human rights and development objectives, from diplomatic “démarches,” to support for LGBT refugees to the drafting of the annual human rights report that is required of every U.S. embassy. It also looks at various opportunities that exist for U.S. embassies to support, both technically and financially, LGBT advocates in host countries.

Click through for more photos of these brave Iranian activists >>

Sign says “No to homophobia and transphobia” in Persian.


This is at Tochal, the mountain above Tehran.


Rainbow balloons over Tehran.

On Tehran’s underground metro.

Related stories:

U.S. Targeting Iran’s ‘Halal Internet’ (Video)

Burma to Hold First-Ever Public LGBT Pride

A Message of Hope and Change From the Emirates on IDAHO


All photos courtesy of JoopeA

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marc horton
marc horton3 years ago

you folks are so strong and awesome,thank you, we will see an end to this bullshite, together with laws etc...we will overcome!

RobynRobyn Brice
Robyn Brice3 years ago

Brave Iranians I salute you.

Bianca A.
Bianca Arsene3 years ago

Stop homophobia. Why can't people just get over this?! Men slept with men since ancient times (e.g., Hellenic civilisation).

Carl Oerke
Carl O.3 years ago

I give the protestors a lot of credit for protesting in such a hostile country with such a repressive regimen and strict religious fundamentalism. They exemplified great courage.

Hannah L.
Hannah L.3 years ago


Mitchell D.
Mitchell D.3 years ago

Hopefully one of many indications to his country that Ahmedinijad is delusional or simply their biggest propagandist.

Rose Becke3 years ago


Angela N.
Angela N.3 years ago

Many thanks!

Tara B.
Tara B.3 years ago

Can anyone explain why their rainbow has different colors than ours?

Is this just an LGBT flag and the colors hold specific meanings, or do Persians in general have a different cultural standard of what colors represent a rainbow?

I know that a "rainbow" as we paint it is an imprecise adaptation of an actual rainbow, because it's a matter of choice whether to include the bands where two colors meet as a separate color or not, so I'm very curious about this.

Jen Matheson
Jen M.3 years ago

It's so great to see images like this from places like Tehran.