Happy 5th day of Pride Month! Today, we’re talking about Arsham Parsi, an LGBT activist from Iran.
Parsi was born on September 20th, 1981 in Shiraz, Iran. Due to the laws against homosexuality in Iran, he never really told anyone he was gay. But when Parsi was 15, he found solice in communities on the internet. He began volunteering with gay organizations. When he was 19, Parsi helped form the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) in 2004. The group helped doctors get more HIV testing. Parsi also took time to respond to the emails of suicidal teenagers.
Parsi helped open the floor to a number of conversations about fighting for civil rights in Iran. In 2005 he was invited to the United Nations Human Rights Council to talk about the advancement of civil rights.
In March 2005, the police were after Parsi so he had to flee Iran and hide in Turkey for 13 months. He couldn’t return to Iran after that so Arsham settles in Toronto, Canada. He changed PGLO into the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO), based in Toronto, where he worked as the Executive Director and the director of their online magazine Cheraq until 2006.
After leaving IRQO, Parsi founded the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees in 2008 where he has been working on helping queer Iranians move to new countries with asylum cases. He currently works as an Iranian ambassador of both the International Lesbian and Gay Association and International Lesbian Gay and Culture Network. He also founded the Rainbow Railroad group in Toronto and is in the Advisory Committee foe the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation.
Arsham Parsi has numerous international accolades for his work making the world a safer place for numerous LGBT people from his home country. He has an amazing story, even has an autobiography called Exiled for Love that I might buy and read. Being from America, where I lived after Stonewall and have been relatively safe, it’s hard to imagine some of the things he lived through, and for him to go out and want to help is just fantastic.
Thank you, Arsham.
Information from Wikipedia
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