Equal Despite Difference

In 2010 Shabakeh had their project, Equal Despite Difference under the WRRC Programme. The project brought together a network of Iranian lesbians in Germany and other parts of Europe to form a network and online space. Their focus is on human-rights, free-speech and anti-VAW. The partners note that homophobia and VAW exist in public spaces as well as in cyberspace, but that online spaces can also be created as safe spaces, and have created a website/blog (www.6rang.wordpress.com) to be a public platform for their network and a Facebook group to be an internal space (already 80 members, all of whom identify as Iranian lesbians, including young women). They organized a face-to-face meeting in Frankfurt in November 2010 bringing together 17 Iranian lesbians from Iran, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, England and Turkey for a two-day intensive meeting and training and then launched their network. They then held 3 public events in Germany about homophobia (linking with German and Iranian women’s groups and a German student group), and then gave interviews on radio and posted 2 short videos on YouTube. They now have “our own space and organisation to support each other” and plan to use the network as a means by which to fight violence against women and homophobia, and to amplify their voices. They report, “Each lesbian who joins the network is a step towards eradicating violence against homosexuals in Iranian society”.

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