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LGBT Republic of Iran: An Online Reality?

4.4. Ketabhaneh88: the online queer book fair of Iran

without burdening the reader with a content analysis, we

examine the available online commentary about the work

of a few of the authors who featured in the book fair under

the subheadings below. We look at the work of Hamseresht

(Kindred Spirit), Khashayar Khaste, Elham Malekpour and Janan Mirzadeh. Their work is inspiring and especially poignant; they literally risk all to write. In our list of recommendations at the

end of the report, we suggest a framework for supporting LGBT literature, which we hope would encourage younger generations of LGBT Iranians to express themselves in books.

hamseresht (kindred Spirit)

// Writing for the Iranian Queer Organisation’s magazine

Cheraq, lesbian poet Saghi Ghahraman described Hamseresht (Kindred Spirit) as an author who “has sworn never to write

about anything except for homosexuality in the Iranian context” (Ghahraman 2009). Hamseresht published his first poems in

blogs in March 2006 and made them available in e-book format

in 2008. Iranian authors have to apply to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for permission to publish their books.

It is far easier to circumvent the official application process by releasing books in electronic format and independent of a

publisher, and many independent authors choose to do this, but for homosexual authors there is no alternative. Not only would the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance feel affronted by LGBT literature, society is not particularly welcoming of the prospect either.

Hamseresht attempts to counteract homophobia in his work

and Ghahraman believes that the way Hamseresht deals with homophobic culture is both effective and empowering: “His manner of mockery towards the biased heterosexual mind,

worked like a remedy for those queer bloggers who were vulne-

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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