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Iran - Turkey

Although gay men exist in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran has denied their existence for over 40 years. Gay individuals in Iran face the risk of execution for their sexual orientation, and same-sex relationships are not accepted by the public. Living a normal life is challenging, and any form of sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is forbidden. Punishments for engaging in gay sex include death, according to Sharia law. This has resulted in systematic suppression, discrimination, family rejection, and judicial problems for gay men and women in Iran. Despite these challenges, they continue to live with hope for a better future, and the Women, Life, Freedom movement has brought the idea of freedom closer than ever before.

"Queer, Life, Freedom" tells the story of Ashkan Shabani, an Iranian photographer and member of the LGBTQ+ community who was disowned by his family and threatened with rape and death after they discovered his sexual orientation. Ashkan had to flee Iran, leaving his partner behind for his safety. He now resides in Turkey, where queer individuals also face systematic suppression and discrimination. Despite the challenges he has faced in both Iran and Turkey,  Ashkan is determined to fight the regime from outside his home country, fueled by the Women, Life, Freedom movement and the hope of one day returning to a free Iran and living openly as a free person.

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