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Witness Statement: Saye Sky

Saye Sky: A lesbian rap musician describes the persecution she suffered that forced her to flee Iran and seek refuge in Turkey.

 

Full Name: Saye Sky (Pseudonym)

Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran

Date of Birth: 1989

Occupation: Rap Artist / Social activist

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: April 12, 2010

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to a live interview with Ms. Saye Sky. The statement consists of 49 paragraphs and 8 pages. The interview was conducted on April 12, 2010. The statement was approved by Saye Sky on July 2, 2010.

 

Witness Statement

 

1. My name is Saye Sky (pseudonym). I was born in 1989 and raised by a very religious family living in the heart of Tehran, Iran. I studied electrical engineering and also performed rap music in Iran.

2. Around or about 2003, I discovered I was a lesbian. I kept this fact to myself out fear of the reaction of both my family and the Islamic Republic. I have no doubt that if either found out about my sexuality, I would have been killed.

My Rap Music in Iran

 

3. I was 18 years old when I started rapping. I had written my first song a long time before, but I couldn’t record or produce it because I didn’t know anyone in the industry who would help me. Between the time when I started writing and the recording/producing part of my career, I sang at underground parties for Tehran’s lesbian population.

4. In Iran, recording and producing rap music presents a number of different challenges. The Islamic Republic discourages rap music altogether and for that reason the genre is recorded and produced entirely underground. Furthermore, because the Islamic Republic opposes women making music of any kind, finding a producer willing to work with me was difficult. Finally, due to the sensitive nature of the topics I covered in my music, finding producers became exponentially more difficult. All of the aforementioned obstacles were somehow created or influenced by the Islamic Republic. Producers feared the legal repercussions they faced for producing my music and the legal repercussions I faced for recording my music. It took me a very long time to find someone who was willing to produce my music as I wrote it, regardless of the consequences.

5. Thus far, I have recorded three of my songs. My first song is about homosexuals and the social relationships between men and women in Iran. My second song is about transsexuals living in Iran and the difficulties they face from both their families and the Islamic Republic. My third song has not yet been released but it is entitled “Waking Up” and is a true story about lesbians living in Iran.

6. Once produced, disseminating my music presented another set of challenges. For the same reasons people were unwilling to produce my music, most websites were unwilling to sponsor my music. Website owners feared the legal repercussions they faced for sponsoring the music of a lesbian rap artist. For this reason, it took me a very long time to find websites that were willing to upload my songs.

My Life as a Lesbian Living in Iran

 

7. I know a great number of homosexuals living in Iran. Homosexuals in Iran learn of one other by word of mouth and by association with other homosexuals. For example, suppose I have two gay friends and a new girlfriend. Now suppose my new girlfriend has two other gay friends. Naturally, our friends will meet one another through our dating and will become friends. In this way, the homosexual community in Iran develops.

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Tagged as:

LGBT, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination