Googoosh, known as Iran's "queen of pop," released a video speaking out against homophobia on behalf of the gay and lesbian community.

According to The Guardian, Googoosh, is one of the first prominent Iranian celebrities to take a stand like this:

The video for her latest song Behesht (Heaven), released on her Facebook page on Valentine's Day, portrays a lesbian couple in a relationship banned both by society and by their families. Navid Akhavan, who wrote and directed the video, said it had been viewed by thousands of Iranians online or via illegal satellite channels.

"The reactions we have seen so far have been tremendous," he said. "The comments I have read online and the messages I have received from people within the Iranian LGBT community have brought tears to my eyes."

"We knew from the start that because of its topic the video is going to be very controversial among Iranians," said Akhavan. "That's why we expected negative feedback too, but that hasn't bothered me, nor Googoosh."

Here is a translation of the lyrics:

I fear this misleading road of doubt
I fear this dead end road
I am afraid of this feeling
that is still persistent between us

The end of this road is not clear
I know this, just like you do
Don't tell me to stop loving
You can't do that and I can't either
We can't go back to where we were
And we can't find a way out of this dead-end
I know (they say) these feelings
should not be, but they are

I am beginning to be afraid of a dream
A dream we both might have dreamed
About the fact that we both
rotated anticlockwise
For escaping from this hell
there is no other way than to end this life
I don't know but maybe even heaven
is not big enough for us

The end of this road is not clear
I know this, just like you do
Don't tell me to stop loving
You can't do that and I can't either
We can't go back to where we were
And we can't find a way out of this dead-end
I know (they say) these feelings
should not be, but they are

Some conservative groups have denounced Googoosh and the video, as expected. However, hope among supporters is strong that the video will create a much-needed dialouge in Iran about the issue:

Shadi Amin, a lesbian Iranian and human rights campaigner based in Germany, said the video had already sparked a debate in an scale unseen in the past. "When I saw the video, I called my mum and said have you seen it? I told her I can keep my head high now," she said. "We don't expect a massive change after this video but it has broken the silence of many Iranians." Amin said it was courageous of Googoosh to release such a video. "Our research and experience shows that gays and lesbians in Iran, especially those in smaller cities, feel they are alone, think they are the only people to have such feelings on the planet, but Googoosh's video [shows] hey, you are not alone."

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Iran face serious persecution both from the ruling system and broader society, especially by hardline conservatives. Some risk horrific punishments, including the death penalty and heavy jail sentences; others are bullied and forced into exile.