Cross-dressing Kurds in Iran to support women’s rights


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A group of men from the Kurdish community in religiously conservative Iran have found a novel way of supporting women's rights: cross-dressing.

In a protest over the treatment of women in their community, dozens of men have uploaded pictures of themselves dressed in women's clothes to a public Facebook group.

Organisers say the Kurd Men for Equality campaign was launched after a judge in the Marivan region of northwestern Iran ordered a man convicted of domestic abuse to be paraded through the streets in women's clothes.

A local feminist group held protests and called the punishment "misogynistic", while a group of 17 Iranian MPs wrote to the justice ministry decrying it as "humiliating to Muslim women."

The online campaign was launched in solidarity with the protests, and men began to upload photographs of themselves in traditional, brightly coloured Kurdish women's garb. The campaign's message was simple, according to one of the organisers: "Being a woman is not a means of punishing and humiliating anyone".

Over 150 photographs of men dressed in all manner of dresses, veils and scarfs were uploaded to the group, which has been 'liked' by more than 7,000 Facebook users.

The campaign has drawn support from Kurdish communities across the world, and has even prompted women to upload pictures of themselves in men's clothing.