Homosexuality remains illegal in Iran, punishable by flogging, imprisonment or death. In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while on a visit to Columbia University, denied that there are gay people in Iran. And in 2005 and 2006, there were high-profile reports of executions of young men, allegedly for sodomy.
Parsi says that he would like to see Toronto’s Iranian queers come together but that there needs to be more acceptance from his fellow Iranians in Canada.
“Our most important challenge is not by white Canadians, because most of them are welcoming. They know Canada receives many immigrants… and they can contribute to this country,” says Parsi. “Our problem is by Iranian communities. Not all of them, but most Iranian people who live in Canada, they don’t know about queer rights and they don’t support it.”
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