Laurence Rasti

"There Are no Homessexuals in Iran"

There Are no Homessexuals in Iran

September 24, 2007 at Columbia University, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "In Iran, we do not have homosexuals like in your country."

While today some Occidental countries accept gays and lesbians marriages, in Iran, homosexuality is still punishable by death. This sanction prohibits homosexuals to live their sexuality. Their only options are to choose transsexuality, practice tolerated by law but considered as pathological or to flee. In Denizli, a small town in Turkey, hundreds of Iranian gay refugees transit: they put their lives on pause waiting to join one day, a host country where they can freely live their sexualities. In this context of uncertainty where anonymity is the best protection, this work questions the fragile identity and gender concepts. It tries to give back to those people a face that their country has temporarily stolen.

My intentions were not to victimize my subjects. It is true that the political situation is dramatic and their past is full of difficult memories. Despite that, I tried to focus on their current situation and the hope that it evokes. It is a promise to freely experience their sexual orientation and their love, beyond the gender. My images are light, constructed of simple elements, sometimes festive. The ensemble tends to create a paradox with the gravity of the topic and the subject’s precarious situation. Between images of hidden or uncovered faces, my series illustrates the difficulty that these people encounter to reinvest the identity space they were deprived of.

(Journalist-Liberation FR)

Laurence Rasti

Laurence Rasti was born in 1990, in Geneva. Her work questions the notion of identity and codes of beauty. Iranian from both parents, she grew up in Switzerland where she gets a bachelor in photography at the ECAL (Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne) in 2014. This cultural hybridization leads her to reconsider the habits and codes defined by these two cultures in order to understand the power of gender in our societies. Her work has been exhibited in various collective exhibitions.

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The Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães, former Motherhouse of the English Benedictine Congregation, was acquired by the Portuguese State in 1986 and assigned to the Portuguese...

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