A gay Iranian tells his story...
I can't wait for the day when he can sign his actual name to the story...
I'm one of those people Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says don't exist. I'm a 25-year-old Iranian, and I'm gay.
I live in Tehran with my parents and younger brother and am studying to be a computer software engineer. I've known that I was different from my brother and other boys for as long as I can remember.
I was born in 1982, two years after the start of the Iran-Iraq War, and when I was growing up, most boys loved to play with toy guns, pretending to be soldiers in the war. I liked painting, and playing with dolls. My brother preferred to play with the other boys, so most of the time I was lonely.
I was 16 when I first realized that I was sexually attracted to some of the boys in my high school classes. I had no idea what I could do with that feeling. All I knew about homosexuals were the jokes and negative stories that people told about them. I thought a homosexual was someone who sexually abused children -- until I saw the word "homosexual" for the first time in an English encyclopedia, and found a definition of myself.
After that, I started searching the Internet for information about homosexuality. Eventually I came across two Iranian Web sites where I could communicate with other gays. I was 17. At first, I didn't want to give anyone my e-mail address because I was afraid that I could be abused or that my parents might find out, or that people on the site could be government spies. But I finally decided to exchange e-mails with one person, and after some correspondence, we spoke on the phone. I'll never forget the first time I heard the voice of another gay man. We arranged to meet at the home of a friend of his, and the three of us talked for hours. I felt so comfortable with them. The next day I learned that the friend was interested in me. His name was Omid, and we became boyfriends.
Please read the rest of his story.