Iran’s queen of pop, Googoosh has released a video in support of the country’s gay and lesbian community.
She is the first prominent Iranian with such a huge following to speak out against homophobia in Iran. The topic is taboo in Iran and being convicted of homosexuality can carry the death penalty.
The lyrics of the ballad ‘Behesht’ talk of a forbidden love while the images show a happy young woman as seen from the eyes of her female lover – contrasted with scenes of disapproval.
“In the first 24 hours it was on Persian websites where this video has been premiered, there were more than 500,000 clicks. That shows that this subject was something that in any case if you are for it or against it, it draws attention,” explained Navid Akhavan, the director of video.
Googoosh was Iran’s first pop diva, although the 1979 revolution brought the curtain down on her live performances until she immigrated to the West.
She has remained popular with Iranians across the globe and fans underground in Iran with whom she enjoys celebrity status on a par with that of Madonna or Elvis.
“You know it has caused discussion which is a great thing. A lot of them are writing that their lives have been changed. The comments that we’ve read, the messages we’ve received since the release of the video, show that this was the first step for a change, for sure, because before that it was just not a subject that was talked about. If it was talked about, it was always talked about in a bad way, as in it’s not natural, it’s not right, they’re just sick, they need help and they get punished – worst case scenario they have the death penalty. But now the discussion is on a completely different level which was the first step with this video,” said Akhavan.
Googoosh travels round the world performing to sold-out houses in European and US cities with large Iranian populations of all generations.
Her message “Freedom to Love for All” is for many a song of hope that Iran’s society might become more tolerant.