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But Saeed, a pensive, handsome 25-year-old with a faux-hawk and meticulously groomed stubble, lives in Iran, where Islamic law criminalizes same-sex relations.Coming out is simply something very few do, even in capital city, Tehran, where Saeed grew up.The vast majority of media reports about homosexuality in Iran are based on accounts of torment and oppression from gays and lesbians who have fled the country.

" In a different country, this coming out story might not be considered out of the ordinary.

Gays from lower classes and rural areas, where stigmatization is often most severe, rarely have the ability to move out of the house before marriage, let alone leave the country. there is generally little acceptance of homosexuality, but some middle- and upper-class Iranians have the means to create parallel lives, out of sight of their relatives or friends.

These people — men like Saeed — are the lucky ones.

The tree-lined park is home to the National Theatre and a decrepit teahouse, and is a roaming ground for mustachioed hipsters, long-haired musicians, chess-playing old men, and young couples holding hands and eating saffron-infused ice cream.

The park is also one of the most popular pickup spots for Tehran's gay men.

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