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Gay & Lesbian Travellers

Despite what President Ahmadinejad might like to say, Iranian gays and lesbians do exist. Unlike most other places, however, in Iran homosexual acts are not only illegal but punishable by hundreds of lashes and even death. In recent years several men have been hanged for the ‘crime’ of having consensual homosexual sex. Barbaric laws aside, there is no reason why gay and lesbian travellers shouldn’t visit Iran. There are no questions of sexuality on visa application forms. Do, however, refrain from overt acts of affection.

Arranging meetings with Iranian gays and lesbians will be tough, although dating aps such as Grinder and Scruff are not censored and in Tehran there are some known cruising spots. The nearest thing to a gay ‘scene’ is a few nervous-looking men sitting alone in Daneshgu and Laleh parks in Tehran. For lesbians it’s even tougher. The best way to make contact is online (but it’s unwise to say where here).

It makes sense not to advertise that you’re part of a same-sex couple. Most hoteliers won’t ask, though you might find in some places discretion is the better part of valour when seeking a double bed.