They were starting to catch on to my astonishment and were all smiling. “How do they do that, if there’s no bars —“ I started to ask. You can get anything you want.” The female cousin mused: “Iranians are very influenced by American culture. "Unnatural acts", among them lesbian sexuality, are punishable with 100 lashes.And for repeat offenders, the death penalty awaits.
Since the late 1980s, they have been able through their presence and their outreach work to shed light on and give shape to the stories of Iranian lesbians.
They are forbidden to sing or dance in public or even to wear the clothes they would like.
Extramarital sexual intercourse with a man is subject to punishments ranging from house arrest to stoning.
It was a Thursday night in Istanbul and I was sitting on a patio at a going away party with three Persian cousins: two men living in Istanbul for graduate school and a woman living there who works as a journalist. So it’s forbidden by law, informal dating when you’re not married.
I didn’t want to turn playtime into work time but the opportunity seemed too ripe to relinquish. How often do we get to share a beer and actually try to understand each other? I told them that I was writing about dating cultures in different countries. But you know, everything forbidden is more interesting.” I asked how dating is different for them in Istanbul than it is back home and both men instantly replied that it was way easier to date back home in Iran. ” One said and laughed, but then added more seriously, “Maybe they feel more freely. But because they are so repressed, they go to extremes to compensate. They’re totally dressed up and made up and with the hair… They’ve got like three boyfriends, they’re always screwing around…