Silencing Sexuality: LGBT Refugees and the Public-Private Divide in Iran and Turkey

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/311697
Title:
Silencing Sexuality: LGBT Refugees and the Public-Private Divide in Iran and Turkey
Author:
Jafari, Farrah
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The current Islamic Republic of Iran distinguishes between homosexuals and same-sex sexual activity: the former is not recognized as an identity, while state apparatuses openly condemn the latter. Beginning in Iran's medieval period, through its current Islamic regime, this dissertation argues that the allowances made for behaviors and attitudes for queer same-sex sexual intimacies in the historiography of Iranian sexuality are very distinct from the modern and Western notion of `gay'. Same-sex sexual relations in Iran threaten the conventional order that is built on an accepted series of gender differences reinforced by the Islamic regime. Marginalization of Iran's queer population permeates into local Iranian communities, creating ruptures with society and family. In the face of a generally repressive and heteronormative Iranian state, as well as the prospect of resettlement abroad, Iranian queers are fleeing to Turkey. This dissertation examines the processes by which queer Iranians face unprecedented forms of stigmatization and violence in Iran and later in Turkey. Going beyond a simple report of homophobic abuse in the Middle East, I engage ethnography as a vehicle by which to appreciate the effects of the constant silencing of queer voices and issues on social, familial, governmental and religious relations in Iran. During the summer of 2012, I conducted 24 qualitative interviews with queer Iranian asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey to assess the impact of societal and state consequences for queers in Iran, and later as refugees. Migration into Turkey reworks social relations based on race, sexual orientation and nationality; Iranians are both victims of and agents within the processes of asylum. An analysis of Iranians vis-à-vis one another, as well as their relations with local Turks, will explain the way race and sexual orientation impact migrant life. My research examines how the failure of figuring non-heteronormative sexuality into modern social, national, religious and academic discourses of Iranian culture is destructive on a human rights level, as it fails to generate new possibilities for developing truthful identities in Iranian and Turkish society and human rights law concerning queers.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Homosexuality; Iran; Migration; Transsexual; Turkey; Near Eastern Studies; Gender
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Near Eastern Studies
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Betteridge, Anne; Hudson, Leila

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleSilencing Sexuality: LGBT Refugees and the Public-Private Divide in Iran and Turkeyen_US
dc.creatorJafari, Farrahen_US
dc.contributor.authorJafari, Farrahen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe current Islamic Republic of Iran distinguishes between homosexuals and same-sex sexual activity: the former is not recognized as an identity, while state apparatuses openly condemn the latter. Beginning in Iran's medieval period, through its current Islamic regime, this dissertation argues that the allowances made for behaviors and attitudes for queer same-sex sexual intimacies in the historiography of Iranian sexuality are very distinct from the modern and Western notion of `gay'. Same-sex sexual relations in Iran threaten the conventional order that is built on an accepted series of gender differences reinforced by the Islamic regime. Marginalization of Iran's queer population permeates into local Iranian communities, creating ruptures with society and family. In the face of a generally repressive and heteronormative Iranian state, as well as the prospect of resettlement abroad, Iranian queers are fleeing to Turkey. This dissertation examines the processes by which queer Iranians face unprecedented forms of stigmatization and violence in Iran and later in Turkey. Going beyond a simple report of homophobic abuse in the Middle East, I engage ethnography as a vehicle by which to appreciate the effects of the constant silencing of queer voices and issues on social, familial, governmental and religious relations in Iran. During the summer of 2012, I conducted 24 qualitative interviews with queer Iranian asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey to assess the impact of societal and state consequences for queers in Iran, and later as refugees. Migration into Turkey reworks social relations based on race, sexual orientation and nationality; Iranians are both victims of and agents within the processes of asylum. An analysis of Iranians vis-à-vis one another, as well as their relations with local Turks, will explain the way race and sexual orientation impact migrant life. My research examines how the failure of figuring non-heteronormative sexuality into modern social, national, religious and academic discourses of Iranian culture is destructive on a human rights level, as it fails to generate new possibilities for developing truthful identities in Iranian and Turkish society and human rights law concerning queers.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectHomosexualityen_US
dc.subjectIranen_US
dc.subjectMigrationen_US
dc.subjectTranssexualen_US
dc.subjectTurkeyen_US
dc.subjectNear Eastern Studiesen_US
dc.subjectGenderen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineNear Eastern Studiesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBetteridge, Anneen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHudson, Leilaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBetteridge, Anneen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHudson, Leilaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSilverstein, Brianen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberTalattof, Kamranen_US
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