British Home Secretary Jacqi Smith expressed the view that gays and lesbians in Iran were not under any form of physical danger as long as they made certain no one knew they were gays or lesbians. In one of the most remarkable statements by an individual whose duty is protecting the rights of people, the Home Secretary came out with the shocking viewpoint that innocent people should hide their real identities in order to avoid being killed. Ms. Smith admits that gay and lesbians are not exactly welcome in their country, but they really will not be harmed if they just learn how to behave in the right manner. She opposes granting asylum to an Iranian gay on grounds he is in no fear of danger back in clerically run Iran if he only acts in a “discreet” manner.
Ben Summerskill of the gay organization, Stonewall, retorted; “You only have to listen to people who were terrorized by the Metropolitan Police in the 1950s and 1960s to know that telling gay people to live discreetly is quixotic.”
Gay and lesbian activists estimate about 4,000 gays and lesbians have been executed in Iran since clerical forces assumed power, but Ms. Smith believes the figure is lower. Regardless of whether it is 4,000 or 3,000 or 500, the figures indicate life for gays and lesbians is not safe, regardless of how discreetly they live.