2004
Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437

Abstract

Abstract

The Iranian state is notorious for its heteronormativity and policing regime in online and offline spaces. The question of how queer Iranians ‘survive’ this inquisitive and intrusive regime of surveillance and control has attracted scholarly interest across disciplines. The existing studies complicate the picture and show that queer spaces, practices, and performances survive despite the extensive control. Digital spaces have presented an opportunity for Iranians of all genders and sexualities to identify, express, and perform non-mainstream and unruly genders and sexualities. In this research, I explore a Persian-language Telegram channel used as an ‘LGBT [sic]’ dating platform. I use a combination of content analysis and cyberethnography to explore the content of the Telegram channel and the nature of interactions therein. The paper will present findings on how this Telegram channel is used primarily to find dating partners and how implicit forms of LGBTQI+ solidarity manifest themselves through its content. Data shows that, despite the strict control of cyberspace, queer spaces appear online, and implicit activism leaks into public spaces through everyday digital interactions of queer Iranians.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.5117/TVGN2022.2.003.RAHB
2022-06-01
2022-06-25
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Abedinifard, M. (2016). Structural functions of the targeted joke: Iranian modernity and the Qazvini man as predatory homosexual. HUMOR, 29(3), 337–357. doi:10.1515/humor-2016-0008
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Akhondi, M. (2003). Proving public indecency crimes from an alternative perspective. Women’s Strategic Studies, 22(6), 107–129.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Arjmand, R. (2016). Public urban space, gender and segregation: Women-only urban parks in Iran. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Article 19. (2018). Apps, arrests and abuse in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran. Retrieved from https://www.article19.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/LGBTQ-Apps-Arrest-and-Abuse-report_22.2.18.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Davis, J.L. (2020). How artifacts afford: The power and politics of everyday things. Cambridge: MIT Press. Saudi female activist faces death penalty, rights groups say. (2018, August12). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/saudi-female-activist-faces-death-penalty-rights-groups-say/a-45162948
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Farahani, F.K.A., Cleland, J., & Mehryar, A.H. (2011). Associations between family factors and premarital heterosexual relationships among female college students in Tehran. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37(1), 30–39.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Ghorashi, H., & Boersma, K. (2009). The ‘Iranian Diaspora’and the new media: From political action to humanitarian help. Development and Change, 40(4), 667–691.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Golzard, V., & Miguel, C. (2016). Negotiating intimacy through social media: Challenges and opportunities for Muslim women in Iran. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 9(2), 216–233. doi:10.1163/18739865-00902007
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Horton, J., & Kraftl, P. (2009). Small acts, kind words and ‘not too much fuss’: Implicit activisms. Emotion, Space and Society, 2(1), 14–23. doi:10.1016/j.emospa.2009.05.003
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hutt, R. (2018, September13). This is the state of LGBTI rights around the world in 2018. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/lgbti-rights-around-the-world-in-2018
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Iran president in NY campus row. (2007, September25). BBC news. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7010962.stm
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Isin, E., & Ruppert, E. (2020). Being digital citizens. London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Kargar, S., & McManamen, K. (2018). Censorship and collateral damage: Analyzing the Telegram ban in Iran. Berkman Klein Center Research Publication. Retrieved from https://cyber.harvard.edu/publication/2018/censorship-and-collateral-damage
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Karimi, A., & Bayatrizi, Z. (2018). Dangerous positions: Male homosexuality in the new penal code of Iran. Punishment & Society, 21(4), 417–434. doi:10.1177/1462474518787465
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Kaufman, G., & Phua, V.C. (2003). Is ageism alive in date selection among men? Age requests among gay and straight men in Internet personal ads. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 11(2), 225–235.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kjaran, J.I. (2019). Gay life stories: Same-sex desires in post-revolutionary Iran. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. LGBTQ Iran: Art, activism and therapy of trans theatre in Iran. (2021, September14). SOAS Middle East Institute. Retrieved from https://www.soas.ac.uk/smei/events/12may2021-lgbtq-iran-art-activism-and-therapy-of-trans-theatre-in-iran.html
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Motamedi, M., Merghati-Khoei, E., Shahbazi, M., Rahimi-Naghani, S., Salehi, M., Karimi, M., . . . Khalajabadi-Farahani, F. (2016). Paradoxical attitudes toward premarital dating and sexual encounters in Tehran, Iran: A cross-sectional study. Reproductive Health, 13(1), 102. doi:10.1186/s12978-016-0210-4
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Muñoz, J.E. (1999). Disidentifications: Queers of color and the performance of politics (Vol. 2). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Pink, S., Horst, H., Postill, J., Hjorth, L., Lewis, T., & Tacchi, J. (2015). Digital ethnography: Principles and practice. Los Angeles: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Rahbari, L. (2016). Sexuality in Iran. In C.L.Shehan (Ed.), The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of family studies (pp. 1769–1772). Hoboken: Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Rahbari, L. (2019). Pushing gender to its limits: Iranian women bodybuilders on Instagram. Journal of Gender Studies, 28(5), 591–602.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Rahbari, L. (2020a). Duffs and puffs: Queer fashion in Iranian cyberspace. Middle East Critique, 29(1), 69–86.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Rahbari, L. (2020b). Iranian migrant women’s beauty practices and (un)veiling in Belgium. Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, 23(1), 15–32.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Rahbari, L. (2020c). Violence in premarital relationships in Iran: An exploratory qualitative research. In A.D.Plat and S.N.Silberman, Violence: Probing the boundaries around the world (pp. 185–202). Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Rahbari, L., Longman, C., & Coene, G. (2019). The female body as the bearer of national identity in Iran: A critical discourse analysis of the representation of women’s bodies in official online outlets. Gender, Place & Culture, 26(10), 1417–1437.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Ryan, J. (2016). Strategic activism, educational leadership and social justice. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 19(1), 87–100. doi:10.1080/13603124.2015.1096077
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Saeidzadeh, Z. (2016). Transsexuality in contemporary Iran: Legal and social misrecognition. Feminist Legal Studies, 24(3), 249–272.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Skafle, I., Gabarron, E., Dechsling, A., & Nordahl-Hansen, A. (2021). Online attitudes and information-seeking behavior on autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Greta Thunberg. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9), 4981.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Stahlberg, D., Braun, F., Irmen, L., & Sczesny, S. (2007). Representation of the sexes in language. Social communication, 163–187.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Svirsky, M. (2010). Defining activism. Deleuze Studies, 4 (supplement), 163–182.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Syvertsen, T., & Enli, G. (2020). Digital detox: Media resistance and the promise of authenticity. Convergence, 26(5–6), 1269–1283.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Taylor, A. (2020). ‘But where are the dates?’ Dating as a central site of fat femme marginalisation in queer communities. Psychology & Sexuality, 1–12. doi:10.1080/19419899.2020.1822429
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Whittington, K. (2012). Queer. Studies in Iconography, 33, 157-168.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Yadegarfard, M. (2019). How are Iranian gay men coping with systematic suppression under Islamic law? A qualitative study. Sexuality & Culture, 23(4), 1250–1273.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Yadlin-Segal, A., Tsuria, R., & Bellar, W. (2020). The ethics of studying digital contexts: Reflections from three empirical case studies. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 168–178.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.5117/TVGN2022.2.003.RAHB
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error