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Team Homophobia against Team Human Rights Controversy over a Contestant from Music Academy of Googoosh

Sexuality Researcher at Simon Fraser University Sex Educator at GoTo Educational Technologies Sex Columnist at Hush Magazine Miss World Canada 2013 Delegate By Yasaman Madanikia

oogoosh Music Academy Show, which is the Iranian version of American Idol show, has gained popularity among young Iranians around the world. The shows facebook page has 616,000 followers with the average age of 18-24. In this season, one of their strongest contestants is named Amirhossein. He has an amazing voice, great manners and stunning features. He also has very stylish looks since he is in the fashion industry. One would never think that this polite, good-looking, young and talented artist would create so much controversy. Yet, Amir has found himself thousands of haters on facebook. His opposers have created a facebook page named The Campaign for Group Rape of Amirhossein from Academy of Googoosh because he could POSSIBLY be gay. This page has over 5500 followers. The admins of this page make daily posts, making fun of Amirs looks, behaviors and clothes. They make insensitive jokes about him by uploading cartoon comics of him with degrading speech bubbles such as I am on my period. They even have picked him a new female name, Rima, and address him by that to humiliate him even further. The existence of this page is simply disastrous and tragic. This is a real act of homophobia and cyber bullying that has gone viral between young Iranians on the Internet. All this is happening despite the fact that Amir has not even declared any orientation. For all that matters, he could be heterosexual. Either way, this is a show that evaluates peoples singing abilities, not their looks or orientations. Therefore Amirs looks or orientation should not matter to the viewers here. Rather, he should be treated just like all the other contestants, with dignity and respect. However, unfortunately due to the lack of education in some Iranians, those 5500 followers of this page have a different view on this. These people have been taught to hate, humiliate and punish anyone who is different and anyone who disobeys the cultural norms and expectations. After all, public shaming is one of the purposes of the governments stonings of women as an ultimate form of punishment. Therefore, it not surprising that a portion of our young generation has adopted such revolting hateful values as well and they are putting them into action now. In fact, if you really think about it, these acts of cyber bulling are the new forms of stoning in the 21st century with the use of new technologies. This is in fact very unfortunate. This been said, it is heartwarming to see that we have many other Iranians standing up for what is right on the other hand. For example, a thoughtful picture and short article by Ali Abdi in support of Amirhossein, was shared about a thousand times on facebook and has been liked about 1600 times on a facebook page. This picture has the photo of Amirhossein on the left and the animated photo of Hossein, the Shia Muslim leader, on the right. They look astonishingly similar. Author of this article mentions that in the picture, both Amir and Hossein have beautiful semi-long hair, long noses and lined eyes. However, the same look is worshiped in one context and then ironically humiliated in another context.In conclusion, they are those Persians who choose to hate and humiliate others and they are those Persians who decide to stand up for what is right. I would like to think that over the years and with more education, we would have more and more people joining the second group in their quest to fight for equal rights for everyone. Until that day, those of us who are on team human rights need to speak up and be the voice to those who are not ready to talk for themselves.

. . . . . . . ( ) ( ) ... Sepehr and Pouya from Germany Activists for LGBTQ Rights