Kurdish Men In Drag Promote Feminism In Iran

Kurdish men in Iran are donning drag to promote a simple message: Being a woman isn't anything to be ashamed of.

The "Kurd Men for Equality" campaign was started in response to an Iranian judge sentencing a convicted domestic abuser to wear women's clothes in public. Following the ruling, Masoud Fathi donned a dress and had his friend, Dler Kamangar, take a picture. They posted it to Facebook with the slogan:

"Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone."

Since the campaign launched in April, men young and old have been posting pictures to Facebook and taking to the streets dressed in colorful, traditional Kurdish women's clothing. Normally when men dress in drag for women's causes, it winds up coming across as campy or patronizing. But there's nothing overly theatrical or trivializing about the Kurd Men for Equality's pictures.

The men hold signs with messages such as "hoping for the day that sexuality, gender will not be a way of evaluating humanity" and "disgracing Kurdish women is disgracing an international community. Women are mothers, sisters, and life partners."

As Diana Nammi, executive director for the Iranian & Kurdish Women's Rights Organization, told CNN, things like honor killings and child marriages are still culturally common in the region. And these are the kinds of messages we're used to hearing about the treatment of women in the Middle East.

It's heartening to know some men in the area have more progressive ideas about gender roles. And it's inspiring to read their own words and see how seriously they take male and female equality.

Photos via the Kurd Men for Equality Facebook page