Meet Local Hero Nominee: Arya Marvazy

Arya Marvazy is a first-generation American working tirelessly to expand LGBTQ+ advocacy work within the Persian & Jewish Communities in Los Angeles and nationally, much of which began after his viral public coming out on Facebook.

Title: Managing Director

Organization: JQ International

Website: www.JQInternational.org

“Arya Marvazy has put himself on the frontline as a visible ‘out’ and proud gay man in his traditional Iranian-American community, often known to have homophobic leanings with hostility towards LGBTQ+ people. Despite efforts to silence or subvert his activism, Arya has pushed forward raising the bar for himself each year with innovative ideas that are truly transforming his, and the broader Los Angeles, community.” – Asher Gellis, Nominator

Highlights:

  • Arya Marvazy is a first-generation American working tirelessly to expand LGBTQ+ advocacy work within the Persian & Jewish Communities in Los Angeles and nationally, much of which began after his viral public coming out on Facebook (link below).
  • Los Angeles boasts the single largest Iranian community outside of the country of Iran. Known for often extreme views on the matter, Iranians have yet to accept and only recently begun to more holistically broach the discussion of LGBTQ+ identity and equality as a community.
  • Arya founded and implemented the first-ever Persian Pride Fellowship program at JQ International — a nine-month leadership and activism training for young adult LGBTQ+ and ally Iranians. The experience trained a new group of changemakers with advocacy and community organizing skills to empower tolerance and inclusion in the tight-knit, and often culturally isolated, Iranian-American community. (Persian Pride PSA link below).
  • Acknowledging the LGBTQ-hostile environment that is Iran and much of Iranian culture, mainstream Iranian publication Iranwire featured Arya and his story as one of “50 Iranian-Americans You Should Know” for his advocacy efforts.(link below)
  • With religion being another challenging setting to broach LGBTQ+ issues, Arya works tirelessly to promote safe spaces for LGBTQ+ Jews, their families and allies as Managing Director of preeminent Jewish Queer organization, JQ International, in LA. In 2016, he was featured in the Jewish Journal’s “30 Under 30” list for accomplishments in leadership, activism, and community organizing.
  • Born and raised in Encino, California, Arya attended Portola Middle School in Tarzana and Taft High School in Woodland Hills. A volunteer, and leader in all campus and community settings, he earned a Master of Science in Organizational Behavior from NYU, and BA in Psychology from UC San Diego. He speaks Spanish, Hebrew, and Farsi, each of which he uses in his advocacy efforts.
  • Beyond Los Angeles, Arya helped to create the “Keshet-Hillel Guide for Inclusion” for professionals and student leaders on college campuses nation-wide, empowering inclusion and LGBTQ+ allyship in the university setting. Last Fall, he helped to create and staffed the first-ever LGBTQ+ Jewish Leadership trip through JDC Entwine to Argentina and Uruguay.

More About Arya Marvazy:

View Arya Marvazy’s coming out video.

Persian Pride Fellowship PSA 

Iranwire Article

Jewish Journal Feature