"I always knew you were different from my other children. His mother took his hands and nodded, "What can we do to help?" In a different country, this coming out story might not be considered out of the ordinary.His mother, sitting speechless in a chair next to her husband, went pale.A retired colonel in the Iranian Air Force, Saeed's father looked at him with a straight face, not moving a muscle. He had spent three decades in the military, and had been shaped equally by its rigorous discipline and his religious upbringing. " he said, turning to his wife, then added: "Saeed, this is your nature. You should have told us earlier." Saeed burst into tears, relieved.So, often the best alternative is random, anonymous encounters.Across town in a grimy, smog-choked business district in central Tehran, Park-e Daneshjoo, or Student Park, is an oasis of calm.
For all his friends who have dared, coming out has been a traumatic experience; parents lock their children inside the house, confiscate their phones and laptops, and force them to seek therapy.
The tree-lined park is home to the National Theatre and a decrepit teahouse, and is a roaming ground for mustachioed hipsters, long-haired musicians, chess-playing old men, and young couples holding hands and eating saffron-infused ice cream.
The park is also one of the most popular pickup spots for Tehran's gay men.
You are at the mercy of the society without legal protection." The feeling of being under constant surveillance, both by other Iranians and the state, takes its toll. | (/JANUS ENGEL RASMUSSEN) Not even the Internet is safe.
While dating apps like Grindr, Scruff and Hornet aren't censored like Facebook and Twitter, most people still assume the country's intelligence services closely monitor them.But Saeed, a pensive, handsome 25-year-old with a faux-hawk and meticulously groomed stubble, lives in Iran, where Islamic law criminalizes same-sex relations.