By Aram Bolandpaz
To be an openly proud member of the LGBT+ community working as a journalist and presenter is a unique opportunity.
It has enabled me to report on the issues I care about the most. My work primarily focuses on human rights and edgy stories. That includes reporting on LGBT+ life inside Iran and the experiences of the LGBT+ community more broadly in the Middle East.
You see, LGBT+ rights in Iran have come into conflict with the Iranian penal code since the 1930s.
Post-revolutionary Iran forbids any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage. Moreover same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or execution.
In the Middle East, Iran is one of five countries to punish same-sex relations by the death penalty. The others are Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and Sudan.
When it comes to the lesbian and bisexual community inside Iran, the punishment for same-sex conduct starts with lashes. But on the fourth ‘offence’ the court can give the death penalty.