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NB Iranian: I am a non-binary queer from Iran.
When did you know you were queer and were you able to come out?
NB Iranian: I don't really have a set date for that. I kind of knew from as far as I can remember. I first came out at the age of 15 to my older sister. And then at the age of 17 or 18, I was forced to come out to my parents.
What would happen if you visited your country? Would it be dangerous?
NB Iranian: Unfortunately in Iran, it's not dangerous, you get a death penalty for being queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual. Transgender people don't have the death penalty, but the rest they will definitely have it.
Why not transgender people?
NB Iranian: Because sex change in Iran is an easier process. They would rather you undergo a sex change and just have a monogamous relationship with a male or female, as in the opposite sex.
Is there a queer scene in Iran?
NB Iranian: In Iran, you don't have really have clubbing culture. You're really not allowed to have clubbing culture. There are a lot of house parties but very few house parties for queer people. If you're lucky enough to get one, they're mainly in big cities, but in a small city, I doubt it.
Are there many LGBTIQ+ rights in Iran?
NB Iranian: Unfortunately, there is no right to protest or even talking about it. It's only the government, it's the religion and the culture of the people. They're not really ready for that. There are people who are working on it, but I think there's still a long way to go, unfortunately.
Do you feel accepted by your family?
NB Iranian: I'm very lucky in that respect. When I came out at 15 to my sister, she accepted me and my family has been supporting me since 17 when I had to come out and I went through quite a rough time. They will always be behind me, supporting me.
Are you religious?
NB Iranian: No, not really.
How long did you live in Iran for and how did you navigate expressing yourself there?
NB Iranian: When I was teenager, I never thought I had to hide it and I shared that information with everyone, I said it was my sexuality and my interest. Until I met one person that made my life difficult at the age of 18. Then I had to leave Iran. So by 19, I was in England.
How do you think your culture impacted your expression of sexuality?
NB Iranian: In my early teenage years, I wanted to be a guy, so I thought I was transgender. Because guys have so much more power, I thought that would be a way I could live with the girl I wanted to be with. I think that was the culture, really. Once I moved here, I saw how life was different and I thought maybe it's not that bad. I think that it was more my culture that reflected my interest in my sexuality and gender.
Do you feel like you've found home in another country like the UK?
NB Iranian: I would say London is home, I'm not really sure I would be as comfortable in any other part of the UK as I am in London. London is home.
What kind of misconception do you face as a queer Iranian person?
NB Iranian: The moment you say you're Iranian, they're like, 'Oh you're Muslim'. Without any kind of doubt or question. And the only question is how come you're non-binary or how come you're sleeping with women. You just have to answer them calmly, many times.