Hate Speech Against LGBT People Used to Create Fear of Protests, Report Finds

Hate speech and propaganda against the LGBTQ+ community were used during and after the nationwide anti-regime protests to spread fear of the protests, report finds.

A report published by the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network (6Rang) in March 2023 investigated the prevalence and context of official hate speech against the LGBTQ+ community.

Silencing protests: Official hate speech against LGBT people as a tool of suppression, September 2022-February 2023 revealed that hate speech increased and was often used in the context of the protests between September 2022 to March 2023.

Although hate speech against the LGBTQ+ community had always existed in Iran, the report shows that officials are using existing homophobia in society to dismantle the protests and their messages.

Officials have attempted to convince the public that immorality will overtake Islam and all Iranians will be forced to partake in same sex conduct, as a way of spreading fear of the protests. 

The report suggests that the rise in hate speech is a reactionary act against the increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ issues in the protests.

“6Rang is deeply concerned that the use of such language and propaganda further alienates an oppressed group, grows the unjust hatred and hostility towards them and affects the wellbeing of queer youth in Iran,” the report states.

The newly published report is an extension of 6Rang’s 2017 research report, “It’s a Great Honour to Violate Homosexuals’ Rights”: Official hate speech against LGBT people in Iran.

Official hate speech in Iran has a long history and is only becoming more prevalent. LGBTQ+ people are often said to be immoral, animalistic and a constant threat to Islamic family values. Hate speech is used by all levels of government, including the president and the Supreme Leader.

The report ends with recommendations to the Iranian government and the international community, such as removing the death penalty for same sex acts and to hold all who spread hate against his community, accountable.

Iranian law subjects those found to have partaken in same sex acts to inhumane punishments, such as torture and death. This community is discriminated against in all aspects of life in Iran, including health, education and justice, as well as being under threat of public and societal attack. 

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Download Farsi here.