For the very first time, Iran is going to be represented in Amsterdam Canal Pride Parade 2017. This would be the first time that “Iran” is going to be any LGBTI pride parade in Europe.
JoopeA who is one of the main organizers of this event, has started a registration form for those who would like to come on the boat and show that “We are rock and this is our pride!”
The registration is open to Persian-speaking community all over the world from now to June 10th, 2017. Capacity of the boat is limited. Don’t forget to register as soon as possible.
You can sent your RSVP to [email protected] in case you are not Persian-speaking but you would like to come on the boat.
An extra-ordinary experience about an extra-ordinary evening
On March 3rd, 2017, JoopeA office has been attacked. Here is a personal experience of Elham and Iman who were among witnesses.
Elham: That day was the first day in the entire existence of JoopeA and our professional work that we eventually have had somewhere we could name it as our office and we were able to sit back, be cool and have some guests to have a small talk about what we are doing and what we are hoping to be able to do.
I was in my out days of study but of course not in so-called Holidays because I was counted on those days to go to the office, manage and finish some works and run some workshops for some of the possible volunteers who wants to join us.
That day was a busy day between those days. Since noon Raham and I were in office to work. When we reached to the office we could recognise the smell of burning. and the smell became stronger while we were behind our door.
We set, we did talk with the first volunteer and between two meetings we had a short conversation and we had about an hour to work. We had our second guest and the conversion was going well while our new guests have arrived.
One of our guests was queer and also she was politically and socially active in the area and as she explained later she wanted to work together with us to make a friendly and safe place for LGBTQ people in the neighbourhood and of course we were enthusiastic and we wanted to know more about her ideas and how she wanted to negotiate with the municipality of district. We were five sitting around and having drinks, common interest to speak out and common concern to work together and another two of us came later.
We were in the middle of the conversation when we heard someone is shouting loudly and after we denied him, he made it harder and louder. We continued the conversation but he did not stop and he started to damage and break some furnish and later on expensive work stuff which was absolutely out of control. We preferred to be calm and do not respond to the stimulation and incitement from him until he threw something heavy to our window.
We were on the topic about what should we do when he opened the door carefully and sprinkled few drops of dirty red water to Raham’s face. we took Raham back, I collected my stuff while another one called the police and explained to them the situation. I had to go to tell our friend as well but in the meanwhile, I was worried about that moment and others which I went to leave behind. I said goodbye to the guests and Raham came with me to the entrance door. I was mostly worried about one of us who was not in the good circumstance to stay there that’s why I asked Raham to send him out before everything is getting more complicated.
I was worried, I could hear the sirens of police cars and was thinking about any possible incident which could be happened. We’ve survived from this harmful experience and even though we could remember the struggling and frightful situation we passed when we were working in Iran. And this day just reminds us again the standard of safe work which we need to provide anywhere and anytime.
Iman: That evening was the second time which I went to JoopeA’s newest office to have a meeting with five other colleagues and two guests. As we were busy discussing some issues related to LGBTIQ community, I could hear someone in another room of the office was destroying the furniture while shouting and screaming. My colleagues tried to talk to him and calm him down, but that didn’t stop him.
I have never been in a same situation before. I was so scared. I felt extremely unsafe in that moment, my body was shaking, I was afraid of him coming to our room and hurt us which he came while his hand was bleeding. I tried to take distance from him and then someone took him out of the room and we contacted the police.
I left the office with a colleague and went to our friend’s apartment which was nearby and the rest locked themselves in that room to take care of the office until the police came. I was really worried about them the whole time, because you never know how far a violent person like him can go.
We couldn’t continue our meeting that night and after what happened, I don’t know how we can feel safe in that office again, especially the ones who work there every day.
Last Friday, March 3rd, 2017 was indeed a huge shock to JoopeA’s members in the Netherlands.
There was a meeting hold in JoopeA’s office on LGBTIQ issues with six JoopeA’s members and two guests last Friday around 9:00pm that the unit has been attacked by an unconscious man. While the man was busy destroying tables, furnitures and computers in other rooms, we’ve contacted police. Police forces has arrived when the man was trying to force himself into our room by pouring red liquid on people.
Police forces captured the man into their custody. Hopefully, no one has been injured physically during the accident.
Regarding to police, there is no information about the identity of the man and his motivation for the attack. Police is still investigating about it.
JoopeA group has been moved to this new donated office which is located in shared community unit in Amsterdam since December 2016. While this office is great help toward our work, it lacks basic security equipments. JoopeA has contacted several larger organizations to attract their support for securing this office for LGBTIQ Rights works way before this accident. But unfortunately, it wasn’t successful so far.
You believe or not we are living in the darkest time of the human history and one of the reason is because we simply do not believe it, even though the bare fact is front of our eyes.
How they let this tragedy happen? I’ve asked this question all the time when I was confronting with the history we passed. In which condition human being is able to be indifference about one another? I’ve questioned when can be seen the fatal indifference of those of us who think I do nothing and no blood is on my hands. we are living in the darkest time of the human being history the time when we lose our hope to light a candle because we lost the flame of our hopes and our dreams because we do not believe we are related. I have still the faith in human being and the way which makes us be able to light our torch again is being conscious, compassionate and responsible.
JoopeA News (JNews) which is known for it’s publication on Sexual Rights & Sexual Q&A in Persian is open to partial participations now.
JNews has a dedicated editorial who are working daily. But it’s not all about dedication. This group is friendly and supportive as well. They couch you in any steps and it can be your first pleasant professional experiences in online media.
If you are interested in participating in JNews by become a part-time writer, translator or being active in web-administrations, don’t hesitate to send an email to [email protected]
It’s nothing new that JoopeA has been active in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex & Queer (LGBTIQ) Rights since beginning.
But sometimes, it’s good it to go through our history and introduce the activities that has been done in our long run.
JoopeA has been established in 2009 in Iran. Unfortunately, restrictions of Iranian Government against LGBTIQ and generally all social activists, made us to work underground for a better society in Iran. Yet, it didn’t stopped us from connecting to our fellow activist groups. JoopeA was one of the first Iranian organizations which became part of ILGA from inside Iran. Below is the certificate of membership from ILGA:
JoopeA has been registered officially in October 2014 in the Netherlands.
Being activist specially a social activists is difficult! It’s same as being on roller coaster all the time … “What the hell is social activist?” people ask! “Do ever get arrested? or go to jail?” They continue! “But you never say something directly to governments! Then why?” questions continue!
Social activists try to move the roots of society to a better place! YES! root of society! imagine how painful is this for the society. Families, would be firsts loving ones who start to disowning social activists! “you don’t look like a good person anymore”, “your clothes are wiered”, “Son, no one in our family kissed a boy before! You have to stop!” And yes, we get arrested in restricted countries, get harassed digitally and sometimes our families too!
And last but not least, we can’t go to a party and rest among bunch of friends that think and act the same! There is no rest for a social activist. We are always in fight to fix things! Yep, we look like kids! we usually don’t like suits but wasn’t it part of the activity to look like a free kid and yet do the right thing?
Come on board, join us on the roller coaster that we are all spinning every day and night to change the society for better.
New year of 2017 has been began with a very good news for us: “We have our new office in Amsterdam now!”
This new office still has a lot to be a full functional office. But we are glad & optimistic to a better future. We do our best to expand LGBTIQ Rights & Internet Freedom specially in Middle East & Iran.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept guests at office yet. But our postal address is available as always for any mails and packages:
Great thank to Stichting De Key for lending us this space.