Liberal Grace

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nope. No gays in Iran. That's an American thing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets a big laugh by claiming Iran has no gays

One of Ahmadinejad's comments at Columbia that got the most laughter was his claim that Iran is free of homosexuality:

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that like in your country. ... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this. "external link

This difference in Muslim self-perception about homosexuality versus my own observation has been a mystery I've tried to unravel.

In my observation, there is more homosexuality over there than in the west.

Does that mean that Ahmadinejad is lying? I don't think so; I suspect he actually believes his claim. Even though, quite possibly, he himself has had gay sex.

It's all from a very different definition of homosexuality.

For starters, boys are not considered fully men, so sex with them is not considered homosexual.

I had a friend who had a deep knowledge of Islam in Pakistan and she believed that a very high percentage of boys -- perhaps 80 or 90 percent -- have been homosexually abused. And, just like in the west, many of those abused boys grow up be bi-sexual with a high percentage also being abusers.

Yet, with all this homosex going on, very few participants would consider themselves homosexuals. This is because they have a very different definition of a homosexual; a homosexual is person receiving penetration. In other words, a homosexual is not defined by having "homosex" but is defined by taking the "feminine" role in the sexual act.

Best I can tell, there are relatively few gays in Muslim cultures by that definition with many of those being sex workers, I'll guess that most adult-only homosexual activity -- of which there seems to be a lot -- is Larry Craig-style non-penetration recreational encounters. (I also suspect that Larry Craig honestly believes he's not gay.)

Perhaps this is something like the African American phenomenon of being on the "Down Low" where the participants generally don't consider themselves gay even though they are having gay sex. external link

I have not seen much written on this phenomenon had have pretty much sussed it out myself by talking with a lot of people about it. So, take it has on man's opinion. If you have a different impression, please leave a comment.

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