Emerging Photographer Fund
Honorable Mention – under 30 EPF 2014 Talent
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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Honorable Mention – under 30 EPF talent
“Jense Degar” (The Other Sex)
Under Islamic laws, homosexuality is not recognized and is considered to be a sin. Contrary to what is often reported in the media about the Iranian government stand, the LGBT community in Iran live without harassment, threat or persecution. It is mainly the cultural taboos that forces them to remain closed and mainly underground.
Amir is 19 year old. He is a bold Iranian homosexual. He has been accepted and supported by his family and has survived in a society where his existence as a homosexual is denied. In April 2013, Amir, just a term away from finishing his degree in fashion design, leaves to seek asylum and becomes a refugee. In Turkey, he joins his ex-partner, where the couple share a two bedroom apartment with other members of their community in Denizli. Seeking a better future, over the next year, Amir’s close friends join him in Turkey. Few last through the hardship of the process and a few choose to return to Iran and live in comfort with their families and close friends.
Jense Degar is an ongoing documentation of those who identify with and explore ‘the other sex’ in Iran, a country where on principles and culture, their sexuality is not accepted by the majority, making it difficult to obtain a job or maintain a normal life. Jense Degar looks at the transformation, sexual exploration and the journey of these young men in both Iran and as refugees in the neighbouring country, Turkey.
Kiana was born in Iran in 1988. Moving to Canada while she was still a teenager, photography soon became her preferred way to bridge the communication gap faced in a new country with a new language and culture. Half way through her last year of university, Kiana put her life in a backpack and in search of her ‘home,’ started a nomad life. With a keen interest in documentary projects, she aims to use her camera to tell stories, with a social message. She is presently pursuing projects that illuminate her cultural background. Focusing on young women, Kiana continues to document challenges Iranian people face, both in Iran and abroad.