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  • In 2015, the Iranian Women’s National Football Team was reported to include several transgender

  • women who had not undergone gender reassignment surgery. In fact, Iran reportedly performs

  • the second highest number of gender reassignment surgeries in the world, despite being a strict

  • Muslim nation. So, why would a country that demonizes homosexuality be such a proponent

  • of gender reassignment surgery?

  • Well, Iran has long been considered one of the more conservative Middle Eastern countries.

  • Almost any activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is illegal, and many homosexual men

  • and women have been arrested, beaten, and put to death. This is in line with Sharia,

  • or Islamic law.

  • However, in the 1980s, Iran’s religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, was visited by

  • a transgender woman. Although reports differ, she pleaded her case by showing him that she

  • was a woman living inside of a man’s body. In response, Khomeini publicly issued a religious

  • ruling, or fatwa, arguing thatIf somebody wants to undergo a sex change because he feels

  • trapped inside someone else's body, he has the right to get rid of this body and transform

  • into the other sex.” This pronouncement may have come as a surprise, but in fact,

  • Khomeini had already investigated the controversial issue of transexuality some 20 years ago.

  • At the time, he wrote that surgically changing your sex was not in violation of any religious

  • laws, which has since been reaffirmed by the Iranian government.

  • Today, Iran regularly encourages gender reassignment surgeries, and even subsidizes a significant

  • portion of their cost.. The country is thought to have one of the highest rates of sex reassignment

  • surgeries in the world, comparable to Thailand.

  • But, while the high rate of surgeries may seem to suggest a more progressive Iran, in

  • practical application, the situation is much worse than it seems. The issue stems from

  • the fact that any non-heterosexual behavior is condemned. Thus, sex reassignment is more

  • of an effort to bring a person’s behavior and lifestyle in line with Islamic law. Transgender

  • men and women who are outed, or who choose to continue living without surgery are often

  • lumped in with gays and lesbians, and risk being put to death. While many transgender

  • people in other countries are able to live without undergoing unwanted surgery and hormonal

  • alterations, in Iran there may be few alternatives.

  • What is considerably worse is that because homosexuality is poorly understood in Iran,

  • it is treated more like a mental illness. One common prescription is for gay people

  • to go through gender reassignment, so that in the eyes of the law, they are attracted

  • to the opposite sex. Some have even reported that they were unaware of homosexuality as

  • a concept, and believed that the only explanation was that they were trapped in the wrong body.

  • Many people who go through such an experience in Iran deeply regret the taxing and difficult

  • transition.

  • Finally, reports indicate that gender reassignment surgery doesn’t eliminate the abuse that

  • trans and homosexual Iranians face. Discrimination and violence continue to be a distressing

  • part of their lives. So, while on its face, Iran’s acceptance of transgender men and

  • women seems progressive, in reality it is anything but.

  • To learn more about countries who recognize a third gender, watch the video down below.

  • It’s been great hosting for you today! If you want to see more of me, check out my channel,

  • Just Between Us, where we regularly discuss sexuality. Thanks for watching TestTube! Don’t

  • forget to like and subscribe to watch new videos. Well see you next time!

In 2015, the Iranian Women’s National Football Team was reported to include several transgender

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