Iranian men from the Islamic Republic’s Kurdish community have launched an online campaign championing gender equality – by dressing in women’s clothes.
Kurd Men For Equality (KME) was hatched as a response to an Iranian judge’s decision to “punish” a man convicted of domestic abuse by forcing him to walk the streets of the north-western Marvian region dressed as a woman.
It began, the Independent reports, after a local feminist group held protests, calling the punishment “misogynistic”, while a group of 17 Iranian MPs wrote to the justice ministry complaining it was “humiliating to Muslim women”.
KME was launched on Facebook soon after and has attracted almost 10,000 likes since its inception on 18 April.
So far hundreds of men have uploaded photographs of themselves dressed as women in a gesture of solidarity, and some women have followed suit in male clothing.
The campaign’s tagline reads: “Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone.”
One of the men, identified by Global Voices as Namo Kurdistani, wrote of the campaign:
"To show my solidarity and support to the “womanhood” and their suffers and torments during the history mostly have done by 'men' [sic]. as we have faced recently a stupid judge”s order to punish a person by putting on him the feminine customs, so it is one of the times that we should gather around each other and condemn this stupidity, brutality and inhumanity against the womanhood; the half of society as well as at least half of the human being on the earth. I am supporting womanhood by the at least I can do for them."
Salman Rasoulpour told Gay Star News: “This is the first time in Iran that an accused is paraded in women’s clothes in the street to humiliate him. It is unprecedented anywhere in Iran.”