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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Dark secrets behind the veil."

You are about to take a very intense, a very personal journey into the deep dark secrets that lie behind the veils in Iran. This is the true story of Baran, a young married Iranian woman that I spent over two hours on Skype listening to her very painful story. 
Baran is different from most Iranian women. She is a Lesbian. For over thirty years in Iran, she had to conceal her true identity or face a certain death. Today she lives in Turkey with her son, hiding from her husband and struggling to stay alive. This is her story......

When I was a small child of five, growing up in Iran, I knew even then that I was different from all of the other boys and girls. I found that I liked playing more with girls, rather than boys. If a boy would try to touch me or kiss me, I pulled away, I didn't let him. I didn't like it!
I remember listening to my classmates, laughing and giggling and remarking, "Oh, isn't he cute? Isn't he a nice looking boy?" And I would just laugh at them, because I had a secret, a deadly secret that I could never share with them.
In secondary school, I had just turned fifteen. I felt alone. I wanted so much to find someone like me and that's when I met Arezoo......
One day we were both alone at my house. I will never forget that day. Arezoo touched me!  Before that day, whenever I had thought about touching another girl, I immediately felt ashamed. But that day, that day was different. When Arezoo touched me, I felt good! I didn't feel ashamed. I was so excited! I had finally found a person just like me!
For two years, Arezoo and I were a couple. We had a great relationship...until that horrible day...My mother walked into my bedroom and saw Arezoo and I kissing!
She went into a rage that I have never seen before! She immediately kicked Arezoo out and then began to beat me, screaming at the top of her lungs, "You are sick! You have an illness and I will cure it for you!"
My mother had the perfect cure for me! "You will marry a man and that will cure your illness!"
I was devastated, but I had no choice. I didn't want to lose my father so I reluctantly agreed out of fear!
I will never forget the day that I was forced to marry a man. His name was Babak. For me getting married to a man was like being raped and whenever we made love, I would turn my head and close my eyes and try to pretend that Babak was a woman!
At that time, we lived in Mashhad and Babak had no idea that secretly inside I was a lesbian. Deep down inside a war was waging. My soul felt like it was being ripped out of my body. Babak wondered why I was so reluctant to have sex. He became enraged, thinking I had another man and would beat me frequently. Despite my body being bruised and battered, I gave birth to our only child on my 21st birthday. We named him Barbod. Yet instead of being happy and fulfilled, I was empty, full of despair, feeling a deep void inside of me.
When Babak was at work, I got on the internet, searching for other women, for other people like me. I began to read about Lesbian groups and discovered that I had a name, an identity, I was a Lesbian! Suddenly I didn't feel alone anymore. I quickly made my own Yahoo id, calling myself Nini Lesbian.
It was while surfing the internet and participating in groups, that I found my new partner. Her name was Niloufar.
We agreed to meet at a coffee shop. Immediately we were drawn to each other. I was 23 and Niloufar was only 18, but I didn't care. She wasn't comfortable with me being married, but we overcame our obstacles. We were very happy for two years, until one day I found out Niloufar had cheated on me.
It felt like my whole world had been shattered. I sank deep into depression. That same year we moved to Esfahan. Babak was busy with army duty and I was left alone at home. I couldn't take it anymore! I wanted desperately to marry a woman. I knew there was no freedom, no human rights in Iran, and I knew if I was discovered, it would mean my death! I also knew this was who I was, this was my identity! I couldn't change who I was!
 After moving again to Tehran, I decided to take law classes. I wanted to be a lawyer. I had visions of being a successful lawyer, defending the rights of women. Just when I got my hopes up again, I was pulled down into another pit of despair. 
What I believed was just a routine doctor's visit, turned into a nightmare. A test had revealed that I had HPV, a sexually transmitted infection and that I was at high risk for cervical cancer. The doctor informed me that I had pre-cancer cells!
That day I lost all hope. I quickly got back on the internet, desperate to find a new home, to get out of Iran and that's when I met Elli. Elli was a refugee living in Turkey. I told her my whole story. A few months later, I managed to escape with Barbod into Turkey to meet Elli. Elli promised to hide and protect me.
When Babak found out from a friend where I had gone, my friend also betrayed me and told him the whole truth of who I really was!
Babak went insane with anger. He immediately went to a judge and obtained a petition against me.
 You see, it's crime in Iran to be gay or Lesbian. After a few days, I received a death threat from Babak...."I will kill you like a dog! You are an unclean person!"
So that is my story. It's the story of every gay or Lesbian person, struggling to survive in Iran, feeling unwanted and hopeless. I have a question for you, "Do you think I am ill? Do you consider me unclean, too?"
It's ok. You don't have to agree with me. You don't have to accept me. I don't care what your religion is, remember I'm a human being just like you. I have feelings. I have fears. All I ask of you is to say a little prayer for me before you sleep tonight.