Our star Trophy Boy escaped persecution and started a new life for himself in America. Now, he's telling his story.
1. Why was it important for you to participate in Sex=Power=Freedom?
Participating in this book was the perfect way for me to help others by telling my story of how I escaped Iran and obtained political freedom. This was so important to me that I left all of my family behind in Iran and risked my life escaping on foot through the snowy mountains from Iran to Turkey. I think it is important to tell my story because most people are unaware of what it is like for those that live in countries, like Iran, where people are denied every type of freedom and personal choice. In Iran, I was not allowed to wear my hair the way I wanted. I was not allowed to shave my face. I was not allowed to wear a t-shirt, or be a model or body builder. Everything is controlled by the government. People aren't even allowed to date or have sex outside of a heterosexual marriage. I would have been killed if I had been identified as gay by the Iranian police or government. This book let me tell my story and bring awareness to people who still must live in places like Iran and those that have been imprisoned, tortured, or killed simply because they were LGBT or opposed their governments.
2. How has your life in Iran influenced your work as an Andrew Christian model?
When you go from living in an oppressive country like Iran to living in a free country like the United States you feel like your world is turned upside down. At first I felt disoriented, everything was new and I didn't speak English, but I recognized that Americans have a basic respect for each other which doesn't exist in Iran. In the United States, people smile and are generally happy. Freedom and happiness are contagious. I want to spread hope to other LGBT people who live in oppressive environments - whether it is a small town in the U.S. with a family that isn't accepting, or in a country like Iran where people aren't allowed basic freedoms. I also want to raise awareness for those who live in oppressive counties and help make Americans understand that most people from the Middle East are just like you and me. They want to live in peace and freedom. Many good people need our assistance.
I think the best part of working with Andrew is that there isn't any judgment with him or the company. Andrew Christian promotes and accepts people for who they are. Andrew does so many amazing things for the LGBT community and this book is just one of them. Beside the overall message of freedom, one of the best parts of the book is that Andrew listed everyone's name who contributed to the book on a thank you page. Everyone can be part of this project. I am so proud that Andrew created this book and allowed me to be part of it because he is the only one I know who is brave enough to print a sexy 200 page photo book with a political LGBT empowerment message.
4. What was your journey to America like?
I was in the military in Iran but decided to leave because I knew I would not be able to have any type of life that would provide me any happiness there. I had no passport but my family did pay a guide to take me half way through the mountains to Turkey. Once I got there I was arrested for having a forged passport and imprisoned for 6 months. Being in a Turkish prison was horrible, but I did meet other Iranian people who were also trying to escape from Iran. They were the ones who told me about the United Nations refugee program that ultimately saved my life. Turkey was getting ready to deport me back to Iran where I would have been hung for being a military deserter. I was able to get a message from prison to my family and they hired an attorney who contacted the United Nations refugee program. I was only accepted into their refugee program because the U.N. knew that I would be killed if I was sent back to Iran.
5. What was it like arriving in America?
After my paperwork was completed by the U.N. I was flown to Dallas, Texas with $300. I had a case worker who helped me get a job at an elevator company. It didn't pay much and I had to ride on my bicycle 3 hours every day. The U.N. makes refugees repay their airline tickets so I spent the next year trying to pay that off...but at least I was free. I knew I needed a way to make more money so I became a go-go boy. The first night I worked I made more money than I made working 4 months in Iran. Being a go-go boy I was able to learn about the amazing work Andrew Christian is doing for LGBT empowerment and was invited to become one of Andrew's Trophy Boys.