‘Cross-dressing’ criminal sentence in Iran sparks outrage, social media campaign

‘Cross-dressing’ criminal sentence in Iran sparks outrage, social media campaign
A Web protest has erupted in Iran after a Kurdish man was sentenced to parade down a street while wearing women’s clothing. In an online solidarity campaign, men from across the world have posted photos of themselves cross-dressing.

The sexist punishment sparked outcries from a local women’s rights group, and from Iranian MPs.

A judge in the city of Marivan, in Iran’s Kurdish region near the Iran-Iraq border, sentenced the man to wear women’s clothes and be paraded in public in mid-April, local news outlets reported. The punishment was reportedly over a crime related to domestic abuse.

However, the intended humiliation sparked outrage in the community. A day after the incident, a local feminist organization, the Marivan Women’s Community, organized a 1,000-person street protest to denounce the judge’s decision. The activists said the sentence was degrading to women, particularly Kurdish women, since the convict was forced to wear a traditional female Kurdish outfit.

The protest spread further online: A Facebook page titled ‘Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment,’ was opened, with men from Iran and other countries posting photos of themselves cross-dressing photos there. The page currently has almost 9,000 ‘likes.’

Photo from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality

Saman Rasoulpour, one of the campaigners, told Gaystarnews that the sentence is unprecedented in Iran. Al Arabia reported that a similar sentence was passed in the city earlier this month against three other criminals.

The scandal has reached the Iranian parliament, where 17 MPs signed a letter to country’s Justice Ministry stating that “this action is against Islamic values and it degrades the clothing and character of Muslim women.”

Many online protesters voiced similar views. One wrote on the Facebook page that, “For many years, women in my country have been side-by-side with men, wearing men’s clothes, struggling. Tonight I am happy and honored to wear women’s clothes and be even a small part of the rightful struggle of people to express gratitude and excellence to the women of my country.”

Photo from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality

Photo from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality

Photo from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality

Image from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality

Photo from facebook.com/KurdMenForEquality