Finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography
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To be gay in Iran means to live in the shadow of death. The country’s harsh Islamic code of Lavat is used to execute gay men, and LGBT individuals who avoid execution are often subjected to severe lashings, torture and imprisonment. It was in this unforgiving environment that Arsham Parsi came to terms with his identity as a gay man.
When a close friend committed suicide after his family learned he was gay, Arsham felt compelled to act. Risking his life as well as the safety of his family, he used the anonymity of the Internet to speak out about the human rights abuses against LGBT people in his country. In 2005 Parsi learned that an order had been issued for his arrest and execution. He was forced to seek refuge in neighbouring Turkey until, thirteen months later, he was granted asylum in Canada.
Exiled for Love follows Parsi’s incredible journey from his first understanding of his sexual orientation to his eventual exile. It explores the reality for LGBT people in Iran through the deeply personal and inspiring story of his life, escape and continuing work.
“An insightful journey into the life of one of the — if not THE most — tireless, effective and acclaimed advocates for Iranian queer refugees … serves as an engaging doorway into a deeper understanding of our queer brothers and sisters who are forced to flee simply because of whom they love.”
— Gilles Marchildon, former executive director of Egale Canada
“The eye-opening, insightful, moving and unique story of Arsham’s amazing personal journey as an Iranian gay man — a very different, more perilous journey than that of the average western gay person.”
— Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation