Googoosh, known as Iran’s “Queen of Pop,” recently released a video which portrays the lives of a lesbian couple.
Googoosh’s video speaks out on behalf of the Iranian LGBT community and she is, according to The Guardian, the most prominent Iranian figure to do so.
As expected, some conservative groups have called out Googoosh and the video. Navid Akhavan, the director of the video, stated that the controversy and negative reactions have not bothered him or Googoosh.
Shadi Amin, a lesbian Iranian and human rights campaigner based in Germany, said the video had already sparked a debate in an scale unseen in the past. “When I saw the video, I called my mum and said have you seen it? I told her I can keep my head high now,” she said. “We don’t expect a massive change after this video but it has broken the silence of many Iranians.” Amin said it was courageous of Googoosh to release such a video. “Our research and experience shows that gays and lesbians in Iran, especially those in smaller cities, feel they are alone, think they are the only people to have such feelings on the planet, but Googoosh’s video [shows] hey, you are not alone.”
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Iran face serious persecution both from the ruling system and broader society, especially by hardline conservatives. Some risk horrific punishments, including the death penalty and heavy jail sentences; others are bullied and forced into exile.