Arsham Parsi Biography
Arsham Parsi Biography
Arsham Parsi Biography
Arsham Parsi Biography
Arsham Parsi Biography
Arsham Parsi Biography

Arsham Parsi Biography

Arsham Parsi

The Powerful LGBT Activists

Birth Date: September 20, 1981 Shiraz, Iran

Nationality: Iranian-Canadian

Known for: LGBT Activism and Refugee work

Who is Arsham Parsi?

Arsham Parsi (born September 30, 1981) is an Iranian LGBT human rights activist living in exile in Canada. He is the founder and head of the International Railroad for Queer Refugees. Parsi was born in Shiraz, Iran. 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 19, 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. But in March 2005, Parsi realized the police were looking for him and fled from Iran to Turkey, where he spent 13 months. Unable to return to Iran, Parsi lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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LGBT activism

In 2001, Parsi had formed a small LGBT group online called Rangin Kaman (Rainbow Group), which was renamed as Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization in 2004. As the PGLO would not be recognized in Iran, a friend of Parsi's officially registered PGLO in Norway. The PGLO later became the foundation for Parsi's Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) in 2006. Parsi later left IRQO and founded the International Railroad for Queer Refugees in 2008. The organization's headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and they provide services to all self-identified Iranian LGBTs worldwide. He began secretly working for the advancement of civil rights for lesbians and gays in Iran. In 2003, he helped organize a clandestine Yahoo chat group for gay Iranians, called Voice Celebration. The group had 50 participants, who exchanged views on how best to achieve civil rights. Less than three years later, he was asked to speak publicly in Geneva, Switzerland, at the second session of United Nations Human Rights Council and on the fourth anniversary all international media published some articles about Iranian gays and lesbians.

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