Persecution of People of Same-Sex Orientation in Iran

Same-sex partnerships can only exist in complete secrecy in Iran. Women have even less freedom than men. They are at risk of forced marriage. If they are discovered, men and women face abuse, arrest, torture and execution. The picture was taken at a secret protest. The signs say “Happy National Day of Sexual Minorities”. Since 2010, members of the gay community in Iran have celebrated this day on the first Friday of the month of Mordad, the fifth month of the Iranian solar calendar.

The Islamic Republic invades even the most intimate areas of private life with severe penalties.  Citing Islamic law, both gay women and men are detained, threatened humiliated, abused, or even executed in Iran.

Homosexuality is outlawed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Sharia, the Islamic legal system, condemns homosexuality as a crime worthy of death. The Iranian criminal code threatens gay men and women with lashes and/or the death penalty.

Life as an LGBT individual (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) is very precarious in Iran. They face permanent exclusion and hostility coupled with constant fear of attacks by authorities, as well as religious indoctrination which is responsible for dictating the death penalty for homosexuality. These result in isolation and a strong disregard for the human rights of the individuals concerned.


Gay men and women who have been arrested in Iran must constantly deny their sexuality; a confession has catastrophic consequences.  In fact, those in custody try to take action against such an accusation with the help of lawyers, not to be ‘slandered’ as gay – which is the only option to contradict the accusation.  Therefore, appeals for a specific prisoner is not only unhelpful, but can also be harmful.  Hence, the appeals of the ISHR are worded in general terms. Please join us in this effort.