Monday, May 12, 2008

Ed interviews queer Iranian--featured in new documentary--at Equality Forum

Top Ed with Malcom Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum; below Parvez Sharma filmmaker of A Jihad for Love and Arsham Parsi who is featured in the film and founder of the Iranian Queer Organization based in Toronto.

This was my first-time to Equality Forum’s week-long symposium featuring 34 panels, 14 parties and 15 special events. In my jam-packed four day visit I attended the Gays and Lesbian in the Muslim World, National Politics, National Legal & Is Queer the New Gay panels along with special workshops conducted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation www.GLAAD.ORG and Amnesty International USA www.AMNESTYUSA.ORG. I also went to a screening of Parvez Sharma’s moving documentary A Jihad for Love www.AJIHADFORLOVE.COM and the International Equality Dinner where friend and former Ambassador Jim Hormel presented a special award to Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

At a breakfast meeting I interviewed Arsham Parsi who heads up the Iranian Queer Organization www.IRQO.NET based in Toronto. He spoke of his past experiences living in Iran, immigration to Canada, and answered many questions I had about the Law of Islamic Punishment for LGBT individuals in his home country. The interview combined with Arsham’s featured role in the film A Jihad For Love provided additional background for our planned LGBT in the Muslim world segment in Rights of Passage.

Equality Forum www.EqualityForum.ORG headquartered in Philadelphia is a international LGBT civil rights not-for-profit with an educational focus. For the past 16 years, this amazing organization has been producing the largest annual queer civil rights symposium, making documentary films, undertaking high impact political initiatives, and spearheading LGBT history projects.

Coming soon we’ll have a transcript of my interview with Arsham Parsi.

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