Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that there are no gay people in Iran.
Kudos to Juan Cole on exposing this existential denial as the same species of poison peddled by the religious right in the US.
"... Ahmadinejad's bigotted statement that there are no homosexuals in Iran derived from his rightwing religious commitments. What he said is very serious. He erased gays right out of existence. The ultimate in denying people their rights is to deny they even exist (the nonexistent obviously have no rights.) There could be a debate over whether the gay lifestyle exists in Muslim countries, as a matter of identity politics, of course, but Ahmadinejad is not that sophisticated. He was saying that all Iranians are straight. Of course, gays are punished very severely in Iran, in reality.
It would be nice for the US Right to have us forget that they pull the Ahmadinejad act with regard to gays every day. Denying gays the right to marry is a way of erasing them from civil society. It is a way of denying that they really love one another, as straights do. It is a way of asserting that they do not exist.
The "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US military (so unlike the one followed by many NATO allies) is also a way of erasing gays. They don't exist unless they themselves press the case that they exist. In order to remain in their jobs, they are forced to erase themselves by their silence. The 'don't ask, don't tell' policy is a way of pretending that there are no gays in the US military. For if it could be proven that anyone is gay, he is immediately expelled. It is just as silly as what Ahmadinejad said, and just as pernicious. That policy is supported by the entire American Right, which is no better than Ahmadinejad in this regard.