Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mahmud Farjami, Iranian Satirist, Needs to be Less Homophobic. And,Who's his editor in Tehran Review?

Mahmud Farjami is a popular Iranian satirist. He used to write for several Iranian news outlets while he was in Iran, and since leaving Iran, he has written in Persian for BBC Persian, and most recently for Terhan Review. He is also quite prominent in Facebook among Iranian users. Currently he is living in Malaysia pursuing a PhD "at the School of Communication of USM in Malaysia, Penang." His full bio is available in his personal website: .
In 2011, Mahmud Farjami became very popular among Iranians after publishing online his Persian Translation of a satirical book by Xavier Crement in defiance of the officials of Cultural Ministry of Iran who declined to permit publication of his work in print.

In his latest satire for Tehran Review website, he goes on to mention what behaviors in bed --before, during and after having sex -- should be considered stupid.  He basically goes on to provide examples of what heterosexual men and women should and should not be doing to have a better sex. However, for some reason unbeknownst to me, nearing the end of this article, he goes on to talk about homosexuals. Very recently, in one of his latest works, he used the word Hamjensbaz (derogatory Persian word for homosexuals), but in this current work published in Tehran Review, he does not use the derogatory term, but a clinical, acceptable term, which should have made me glad if not for the ignorant things he had to say about homosexuals. The following is the translation of the passage in question.Comments in [ ] are added by me. Italicized words are for emphasis done by me .: 
Regarding homosexual men and women, sexual stupidity is more complex and, unfortunately, it has not been comprehensively researched yet. Most important reason is that in many societies a number of stupid heterosexuals are still insisting to impose their sexual taste [orientation] on everyone. Consequently, homosexuals (be they stupid or intelligent) are so oppressed by the stupid heterosexuals that they do not behave ordinarily and we [the heterosexual people, such as Mr.Farjami presumably]  cannot  approach them ordinarily. For instance, one time,  while doing a research, I carefully asked an acquaintance -- who was a defender of Gay Rights -- with utmost respect, and in private if he [or She;third person's pronouns in Farsi are gender non-specific] was homosexual himself or not. And, since then, this person [got upset and] been asking me for years afterward [whenever he saw me]: Why I asked him such a question,What my motive was, Why I prejudged him, and If I know what Homosexuality means or not ... .
Stupidity has no exception. [meaning we can have both stupid heterosexuals and homosexuals] 

I think it is safe to say, Mr. Frajami needs to add a new recommendation to his work in fighting stupidity: You shall not talk about things you have no clue about. You should not go around offending people who are already unjustly offended in the worst manners in Iran, the same people who are utterly hated and marginalized among Iranians inside and outside of Iran. You shall not assume anything about Homosexual people if you have no knowledge about them whatsoever. You should maybe consider learning about homosexual people by talking to homosexual people. You shall learn how to communicate about Homosexual people if you are pursuing a PhD in Communication. Or, you would risk sounding like a true stupid person. 

That said, as a man who has dated other men in and out of Iran, and knows other Lesbian, and Bisexual people, I need to tell Mr.Farjami that homosexual people kiss, hug, caress and love each other, like other humans do, when they can: when they are not afraid of being harassed, or when they are not risking their lives. Homosexual people are as usual as you are, Mr.Farjami. They have emotions, desires, and wishes. They read news. They go to school. They read books. They may have even read your Bisho'uri book.

Be Kind not Stupid.


  1. I linked this post in my facebook with this comment:

    یک نوشته‌ی خوب از یک همجنسگرای ایرانی در نقد طنزنوشته‌ی اخیر من در سایت تهران ریویو - به زبان انگلیسی. نویسنده را نمی‌شناسم چون با نام مستعار نوشته وگرنه برایش توضیحاتی را خصوصی و دوستانه می‌فرستادم. اینقدر هست که به نظر می‌رسد حتی این دوستمان هم (که بر خلاف فیمینستهایی مثل لیلا موری و لوا زند فقط کارش رنجیدن و رنجاندن نیست) دچار سوتفاهم شده و کمی بی دقتی. چه آنکه این متن را در کانتکست خودش ندیده و چه آنکه مثلا وقتی گلایه می‌کند من در متنی دیگر کلمه‌ی "همجنسباز" را بکار برده‌ام توجه نکرده که آنجا بحث ترجمه‌ است از کلیشه‌های رایج، و اتفاقا در همان متن وقتی بحث جدی‌تر می‌شود همه جا کلمه‌ی همجنسگرا آمده نه همجنسباز.

  2. The homophobic tone in this Mahmoud Farjami's "satire" text goes beyond what you have mentioned that he calls queers "unnatural". The whole thing of dividing people into two categories of hetrosexual men/women and then dedication a bonus side note to homosexuals is itself homophobic. And Perhaps for Farjabi bisexuality is an unknown concept as if people are either hetrosexual who deservie 90% of his attention and homosexuals who deserve 10% of his text attention (to be called "unnatural"). Nevertheless, judging from what he wrote, I can say he must have a terrible sex life.

  3. آقای محمود فرجامی، رفتار شما نسنجیده و غیرطبیعی بوده که از دوست مدافع دگرباشانت پرسیدی "آیا خودش هم همجنسگرا هست؟" و رفتار او برای امتناع و دوری از شما از جواب کاملا منطقی بوده. اولا، به شما ربطی نداره گرایش جنسی افراد رو بدونید به خصوص که نیت واقعیتون ("انجام تحقیقی") رو پیش از پرسیدن سوال پنهان کرده باشید. ثانیا در شرایطی که مجازات همجنسگرایی در ایران مجازات مرگ داره و در جامع ایرانی رفتارهای همجنسگراهراسی فراوان وجود داره، اعلام هویت جنسی هزینه زیادی برای افراد می تونه داشته باشه. پس شما با پرسیدن این سوال دوستتون رو وادار به پرداخت این هزینه می کنید یا اون رو وادار به دروغ گفتن می کنید. اما خوشبختانه دوستتون منطقی ترین و طبیعی ترین جواب یعنی امنتاع و دوری از شما رو انتخاب کرده. سعی کنید ازهول نباشید و از این سوالی ها غیرطبیعی بیشعورانه کمتر بپرسید.

    1. دوست من در ایران زندگی نمی‌کرد و ساکن آمریکا بود. سوال هم از طریق اینترنت پرسیده شد. چرا کسی که همجنسگراست و علنا مدافع حقوق آنها باید اینقدر در مورد چنین سوالی حساس باشد؟

    2. It's none of your business. You should apologize your friend for asking this personal question.

  4. UltraRobotMode - hey man, I subscribed to your blog, hope you post often. quodlibetaldisputation[at]gmail