Free Download of Graphic Novel, "Yousef and Farhad"

OutRight Action International Releases Free Download of Graphic Novel Yousef and Farhad, a Love Story Portraying the Human Rights Struggle for Acceptance by LGBTIQ Iranians

Novel Includes Foreword by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi

(New York) –Following the Facebook serialization of a love story Yousef and Farhad about a gay couple in Iran, OutRight Action International, the global human rights organization, on Monday releases the full 20-page graphic novel to download for free.

The commissioned graphic novel, Yousef and Farhad, though a work of fiction, reflects the real life struggles for acceptance of LGBTIQ people in Iran and across the world.  OutRight created the graphic novel in partnership with the Algerian-American political cartoonist Khalil Bendib, and the award-winning Iranian-American author Amir Soltani, creator of the best-selling graphic novel, “Zahra’s Paradise.”

As is true too often in real life, the two characters in the novel are rejected and ostracized by family as they try to assert their basic right to love.

“With this extraordinary novel, we hope to reach Iranian families struggling with the sexual orientation of their loved ones with an appeal for acceptance and dignity,” OutRight Executive Director Jessica Stern wrote in an Introduction to the novel.

With the serialization of weekly episodes of Yousef and Farhad on OutRight’s Facebook page since August, posted in both English and Farsi, the series gained a strong following. The web series was viewed by 44,098 Facebook users who engaged with the series 11,384 times.

The final episode publishes on Facebook on Dec. 31- a reminder to begin the New Year with an accepting heart and mind. 

OutRight has worked in partnership with LGBTIQ Iranians and their allies since 2012. The organization runs one of the world’s most popular website dedicated to LGBTI rights. It has created criminal defense guides for lawyers representing LGBTIQ Iranians charged under laws criminalizing homosexuality. In addition, the organization has trained more than 110 Persian language journalists on sensitivity in reporting. It has encouraged the use of a word (add) to replace a derogatory one for “gay” that had been used by Iranian media.

Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, in a foreword to the novel, speaks to the hope for respect, dignity and acceptance that many Iranians seek: “I long for the day when we all accept that all human beings have the right to be diverse and live their lives differently from others.”

In his afterword, Amir Soltani writes: “When OutRight Action International invited us... to collaborate on a campaign to raise awareness about the state of the LGBTIQ community in Iran, Khalil and I knew we had to jump in. Who can resist an invitation to launch a true jihad- a jihad for love?”

Read more about Yousef and Fahrad and its creators:

OutRight Action International

Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.