How are Iranian Gay Men Coping with Systematic Suppression Under Islamic Law? A Qualitative Study

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Mohammadrasool Yadegarfard, University of Bedfordshire, UK


    The existence of gay men is undeniable in Iran; however, Iran’s Islamic law considers same-sex relationships a crime punishable by the death penalty. The aim of this study is to use a qualitative approach to gain a more in-depth understanding of the coping strategies adopted by gay men living in Iran under systematic suppression based on each individual’s subjective experiences, feelings, intention, and beliefs. A semi-structured interview in Farsi (Persian) language was used to gather the qualitative data. Twenty-three men who identified themselves as gay and who currently live in Iran were interviewed for this study. Transcripts of the interviews were subjected to analysis using thematic analysis. The key themes that emerged as coping strategies were: risk-taking; internalized oppression; travelling/leaving the country; social networks and family of choice; mental health and psychological therapy and medication; social class; and developing a new identity.