Watch This Iranian Pop Icon Stand Up for LGBT Rights in a Historic Music Video

Watch This Iranian Pop Icon Stand Up for LGBT Rights in a Historic Music Video

Iran's reigning queen of pop, Googoosh, just made history in the global LGBT rights movement. The artist released a music video that strongly denounces homophobia and sticks up for the freedom of LGBT individuals.

Such an act may not make headlines in other countries, but this is a huge deal for Iran, a deeply conservative theocracy where LGBT individuals don't just face discrimination, they face imprisonment or even death if found guilty of violating anti–LGBT laws.

Googoosh released the music video on Valentine's Day, which features a lesbian couple, for her song "Behesht (Heaven)." Watch it here:


That Googoosh made a video portraying a lesbian relationship in a positive, sympathetic light is remarkable on its own, but the song's lyrics make this an even more powerful statement of solidarity. Googoosh sings, "Don't tell me to stop loving, you can't do that and I can't either ... I know (they say) these feelings should not be, but they are."

Unsurprisingly, the video has been banned in Iran, but many Iranians have reportedly viewed it through uncensored, illegal satellite channels. Navid Akhavan, the video's director, told the Guardian, "The comments I have read online and the messages I have received from people within the Iranian LGBT community have brought tears to my eyes."

Googoosh, 63, is the most prominent Iranian celebrity thus far to publicly support LGBT rights. She has enjoyed a successful career that began long before the 1979 revolution, and many Iranians adore her for choosing to stay in the country afterward (many other entertainers fled after the establishment of Islamic law).

Despite her overwhelming popularity, Googoosh put herself in danger for taking this stand. Conservatives in Iran have harshly denounced her, using the Internet to not only criticize her support of the LGBT community, but to question her allegiance to Iran.

One video might not change anti–LGBT attitudes in Iran overnight, but it's a start. The LGBT community in Iran and around the world has gained an influential ally.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Sam Brodey

Sam Brodey is a writer, journalist and University of Pennsylvania student, majoring in political science with a minor in bar trivia.

MORE FROM

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.

MTV VMA Nominations 2017: A complete list of nominees for the 34th annual Video Music Awards

The 2017 MTV VMAs are going for woke with a new best fight the system category.

‘The Defenders’ doesn’t have patience for Iron Fist’s privilege either — and that’s great

The show acknowledges Iron Fist's shortcomings, and that stops him from ruining this series, too.

Know who’s really winning ‘Game of Thrones’ this season? The show’s editing team

Props to Crispin Green and Tim Porter for episodes one and two, respectively. Y'all are some gross monsters.

TJ Miller’s explanation of the “feminist agenda” in ‘The Emoji Movie’ proves the bar is too low

How feminist can a movie with no female writers really be?

On Lana Del Rey’s lust for social consciousness

For her latest studio full-length, LDR proves there's more to her than the flower-crown aesthetic.

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.

MTV VMA Nominations 2017: A complete list of nominees for the 34th annual Video Music Awards

The 2017 MTV VMAs are going for woke with a new best fight the system category.

‘The Defenders’ doesn’t have patience for Iron Fist’s privilege either — and that’s great

The show acknowledges Iron Fist's shortcomings, and that stops him from ruining this series, too.

Know who’s really winning ‘Game of Thrones’ this season? The show’s editing team

Props to Crispin Green and Tim Porter for episodes one and two, respectively. Y'all are some gross monsters.

TJ Miller’s explanation of the “feminist agenda” in ‘The Emoji Movie’ proves the bar is too low

How feminist can a movie with no female writers really be?

On Lana Del Rey’s lust for social consciousness

For her latest studio full-length, LDR proves there's more to her than the flower-crown aesthetic.