Via New York Times:
Despite Denials, Gays Insist They Exist, if Quietly, in Iran
By NAZILA FATHI SEP. 30, 2007
TEHRAN, Sept. 29 — When Reza, a 29-year-old Iranian, heard that his president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had denied in New York that homosexuals were in Iran, he was shocked but not surprised. Reza knows the truth. He is gay.
Leaning back in his black leather desk chair at home in Tehran, he said there were, in fact, plenty of gay men and women in Iran. The difference between their lives and those of gays in Europe and North America is one of recognition and legitimacy.
“You can have a secret gay life as long you don’t become an activist and start demanding rights,” he said, speaking on the condition that his family name not be used because he feared retribution.
Reza, who shaves his head and often wears an earring in his left ear, has lived in Europe extensively. Gay life in Iran, he said, “is just complicated in the same way that it is for other groups, like workers and feminists, who don’t have many rights.”