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Arsham Parsi is an Iranian LGBT activist for Muslim communities.


Parsi's activism began in 2001 when he founded the email group Rainbow Group.[1] Later, he began the website Gay Persian Boy, which is no longer online. As the group increased, the name was changed to the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization[2] and later to the Iranian Queer Organization, also spelled IRanian Queer Organization (IRQO). The organization's headquarters are in Toronto, Canada, and it has branches in the Netherlands, as well as an underground office in Iran, where it is banned.[3]

Parsi is the executive director of the IRanian Queer Organization (IRQO) and director of the organization's online magazine, Cheraq. He is an Iranian member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), based in Brussels, Belgium, and ambassador of Iran in the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network (ILGCN), based in Stockholm, Sweden. Director of the cultural committee at the Iranian Association of University of Toronto (IAUT), Parsi is also a member of the Rainbow Railroad group based in Toronto, Canada, and the Advisory Committee of the Hirschfeld-Eddy.[4]

Personal life

Parsi was born in Shiraz, Iran.[2] As a gay Iranian, he felt alone until at age 15 he discovered solace in the Internet. Parsi began volunteering for underground gay organizations. At age 22, he began working for PGLO and networked with doctors to provide HIV testing. He responded to emails from suicidal gay teenagers. The strict laws against homosexuality forced Parsi to keep his work secret from friends and family.[5] But in March 2005,[2] Parsi realized the police were looking for him[5] and fled from Iran to Turkey, where he spent 13 months. Unable to return to Iran, Parsi lives in Toronto, Canada.[2]

External links


  1. Parsi, Arsham. Professional Activities. Retrieved on 2007-09-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jama, Afdhere. "Fighting for tomorrow: An interview with Arsham Parsi", Huriyah, Fall 2006. Retrieved on 2007-09-15. 
  3. Salami, Mahnaz. "Unveiling the Iranian Queer Organization: An Interview with Arsham Parsi",, April 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-15. 
  4. Parsi, Arsham. Professional Memberships. Retrieved on 2007-09-15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sarra, Samantha. "Iranian queer risk arrest, execution", Xtra, 2006-08-03. Retrieved on 2007-09-15. 

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