Coming out is never easy, especially when there is a real fear of being rejected by your family, or worse, risking violence or harassment. This is the start of Yousef & Farhad’s journey — the first installment in a groundbreaking graphic novel web series created in a partnership between the LGBTIQ human rights organization OutRight Action International and the artists Amir Soltani and Khalil Bendib. Though in many ways a classic love story with all of its poetry, challenges and triumphs, the relationship between two gay men in Iran is rarely a simple romance.
When society’s rules influence Yousef’s family acceptance, it’s time for him to find a new home. Daily life for LGBTIQ Iranians, as is true in other countries that criminalize homosexuality, is infinitely more complicated than the laws on the books. In spite of the challenges and risks, they find boyfriends and girlfriends — and even the most unlikely protectors. But their journey is never easy and not every story ends happily. This is the third installment of “Yousef and Farhad.”