Losing My Identity: Only Gay When I’m Not Iranian

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About Yashar Ali

Yashar is a Los Angeles-based blogger, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.


  1. This is a very courageous step you’re taking here, Yashar. May the All-Loving bless you and your family for it.

    While you don’t see what you do as courageous, there is nothing more courageous, if we listen to what the Quakers say, than speaking truth to power. And “power”, as Foucault reminds us, is much more inscribed in everyday rituals and structures like the family than it is in secret police forces and armies.

  2. Thanks Yashar for the beautiful post. It captures the juxtaposition of identity and the cross roads with family and culture.

    I”m starting a project about this issue, and I’d love your opinion on it. Good Girls Marry Doctors is an intersection of identity and culture, and we’re gathering many individuals who have been through experiences similar to yours. They’re not all necessarily have to do with being gay. They surround two issues, a) the narrow field of acceptability of your partner (sexual preference, religion, race, etc) b) the narrow field of acceptability of career choice.

    Hugo Schwyzer has blogged about us previously. I hope you’ll come join in on our conversation. Please email me at the above email.

  3. “Heterosexuals don’t advertise their sexuality, why do you have to?”


  4. Christopher says:

    Yashar, thank you for your wonderful article. interestingly, parental “shame” about their LGBT/SGL child isn’t just restricted to Iranian culture. i recently heard my own mom (who i have been out to for more than a decade & who supported my late partner & I through his passing) describe me as being “single”. having the courage to claim our own identities, even in the face of disappointing our parents, can be an amazing part of our growth as individual human beings. i too was taught that it was more important to be honest and trustworthy than to be deceptive.

    thank you for your writing. i hope to see more from you.. you are very courageous.

  5. Vesta Javaheri says:

    I’m also Iranian and not straight (lesbian, bi, i dunno). I never planned on coming out to my parents because I didn’t see a reason for it, but it came up in conversation with my dad so we talked about it. My mom still doesn’t know (as far as I know, anyway). I also have a lesbian cousin. She was basically excommunicated from the family when she came out; for years, no one would speak to her.
    Despite all of this pain, I am so glad you decided to tell the truth about who you are. As I’m sure you know, it’s better than living a lie. Thank you. <3

  6. thank you for writing about it!

  7. Thank you says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am so proud of you and you are role-model to other gay youth of middle-eastern origin like myself. My parents are originally from Afghanistan. When I told my dad his reaction was the same as yours “it’s ok just don’t tell anyone” and my mom’s was just shear denial. Living a dual life really sucks, a part of me yearns so badly to be “whole”. I feel like my soul is crushed everytime I go home :( though I know my family will never cut me off financially I want to wait until I am older and on my feet before I make the big leap and tell everyone the truth. I too want to write openly and freely on this topic and other human rights issues affecting Afghan and Islamic societies and communities. Maybe in the future we can join forces ;)

  8. Interesting how this author makes absolutely no mention of Islam when discussing his predicament in this article. But then again there are “political” considerations aren’t there?

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