The photo-session is titled “Z-53”, and as Azeri LGBT activist explained to this blog, this refers to Sura (chapter) from Quran, aya (verse) 53, where it is mentioned: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by singing), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”.
“Our society always says that being LGBT is a great sin. Allah cursed them all, but these sentences from Quran show different view of Islam which denies all the dogmas in secular Azerbaijani society”.Says Gulara Azimzadeh, head of the “Peace for LGBT” organisation:
“The photo-session “Z-53” represents religious, national and legal aspects of Azerbaijani LGBT people’s lives. Those photos are a message and a protest to the unbearable levels of discrimination from the homophobic society towards LGBT people. The fear for our lives derived during the making of “Z-53” did not suppress our demand for freedom of expression. For years our existence has been ignored – today we say “We exist”! Despite all the shaming, humiliations for years, and making us believe we were doing wrong - we accept our homosexual nature, we are not ashamed of who we are! You did not give us the rights to take them away. Do not try to fit everybody under the same figure! It is time to accept us – the people “different” from you.”Unsurprisingly, as per organisers, this action generated a “huge wave of hatred” towards them, as is always the case whenever LGBT activists in the South Caucasus lower a threshold of visibility by their actions.
Respects to these brave Azeri activists.
*pictures courtesy of "Peace for LGBT"