Iranian Queer Organization

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Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO)
Iranian Queer Organization logo.png
FounderArsham Parsi
FocusAdvocacy for LGBT rights in  Iran
OriginsPersian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO)
Key people
Saghi Ghahraman, Niaz Salimi, Amir Bahar, Hamid Parnian, Sam Kosha, Ferdous Bamdad, Roshan Borhan

The Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO; Persian: سازمان دگرباشان جنسی ایران‎) also known as the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization, is an advocacy group for LGBT rights in Iran based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1] The organization was founded by human rights activist Arsham Parsi[2] and monitors violations of gay rights in Iran. Under the Islamic laws of Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death.[3]

Arsham Parsi left the organization[4] and founded a new organization called the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.[5]

While living in Iran in 2001, Parsi founded an internet group that later became known as the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization.[3] The organization produces a monthly email newsletter called Cheraq (light) and has 6000 members in Iran.[6]

IRQO provides an avenue for homosexuals in Iran to communicate with like minded activists around the world. Following the Iranian election protests in 2009, IRQO distributed an open letter from university students in Iran deploring the state of gay rights in the country.[7] The organization also published a letter from gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi after his boyfriend was executed and he was at risk for deportation to Iran.[8]

In 2008, IRQO was one of the two winners of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's (IGLHRC) Felipa de Souza Award and Arsham Parsi received that award at the New York's ceremony.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Faramarzi, Scheherezade. "Iranian homosexuals carve out a refuge in Turkey". Taiwan News. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  2. ^ Block, Melissa (25 September 2007). "Gays in Iran? Disputing Ahmadenijad". National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b Esfandiari, Golnaz. Iran: Persian Gay And Lesbian Activist Urges Tolerance. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. May 17, 2007.
  4. ^ IRQO: A Review of the Restructured LGBT Rights Organization. Iranian Queer Organization.
  5. ^ Rau, Krishna. Feuding Iranian queer groups look to future. Xtra! November 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Von Mittelstaedt, Juliane.; Steinworth, Daniel. Wave of Homophobia Sweeps the Muslim World. Speigel Online. September 17, 2009.
  7. ^ Erbentraut, Joseph. Will Gay Iranians Come Out of the Revolt Better --or Worse? Edge Boston. June 30, 2009.
  8. ^ Brouwer, Christine.; Riviera, Gloria. Iranian Teen Fears Deportation Means Death. ABC News. March 8, 2008.
  9. ^ IGLHRC Announces 2008 Felipa de Souza Award Winners. Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. March 4, 2008.

External links[edit]