Page 105

5.4. Hypermasculinity and patriarchy

97

5.4

Hypermasculinity and patriarchy in gay and lesbian relationships

// The concept of hypermasculinity and patriarchy in lesbian

and gay relationships is very interesting in Iran. Lesbians often

play into a dichotomy whereby they have to ‘act male’ in order to justify being with women. Gay men, on the other hand, are

not perceived by society to be ‘real’ men and their homosexua-

lity strips away their masculinity in the eyes of society. Jerry Zarit, an expatriate living in Iran for four years before the Iranian Revolution (1979), described sexual advances in Iran as open

and aggressive but noted, “the fucker [the ‘active’ partner] is in no danger of being considered queer” (Zarit 1992, p. 56). Zarit

continued, “Iran was for me, and others like me, a sexual paradi-

se … yet with one or two exceptions, I never met an Iranian in his own country who would completely acknowledge his sexuality.” David Reed relayed a similar experience: “More than once a

sex partner asked me how I could do such a dirty, demeaning

thing. When I would ask, ‘Well what were you doing?’ he would respond, ‘But I was the man’” (Reed 1992, p. 65).

// Speaking exclusively with Small Media, lesbian activist

Shadi Amin said, “Neither straight men nor women are particularly threatened by gay men. They perceive them as weak; they don’t see them as real men. But lesbian women, well they pose

a threat. Straight men think they [lesbians] will take their wives away from them, and straight women can’t be friends with them because of social taboos”.

It is interesting that to ‘dominate’ another man through

a sexual act is a hypermasculinising behaviour in Iranian

society. However, although sexual acts between males may be

encouraged in jail cells as a form of psychological and physical torture for political prisoners, the repercussions are far more

serious when it occurs on live television. In a National Premiere

LGBT Republic of Iran: An Online Reality?  

A Small Media report revealing how Iran’s LGBT communities use global communicationstechnology in their everyday lives.

LGBT Republic of Iran: An Online Reality?  

A Small Media report revealing how Iran’s LGBT communities use global communicationstechnology in their everyday lives.

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