Iran’s Treatment of Trans People: A Double Edged Sword

Scene from “Be Like Others” documentary about sex-change surgery in Iran
Scene from “Be Like Others” documentary about sex-change surgery in Iran

BY KEVIN SCHUMACHER  (aka Hossein Alizedah)  |  Iran – an Islamic theocracy that criminalizes consensual same-sex relations, forces women to adhere to a strict and modest dress code in public, and has zero-tolerance for dissident’s freedom of expression – presents a surprisingly lenient attitude on trans issues. On the surface, the Iranian government seems supportive of the trans community. Official reports reveal that gender confirmation surgery for trans individuals is subsidized by the state. Trans activists are also legally allowed to organize and register an advocacy group ( and benefit from public assistance, such as access to free office space provided by Tehran’s Municipality. In reality however, while the trans community in Iran enjoys more rights than in any other Muslim country in the region, pervasive social discrimination and legal abuse against trans individuals remains a consistent fact of life.

- Advertisement -

Over the past decade, the Iranian State Welfare Organization has provided consistent -though limited- support to trans individuals in need of medical, psychological, or financial assistance. Iranian universities – notoriously monitored and controlled by the government- organize conferences and research projects on the social status and medical needs of the trans community. Even pro-government Shiite religious leaders speak in defense of the trans community in sermons, books and articles, and media appearances.

Iranian government policies on trans issues have provided opportunity for artists to show solidarity with the country’s nascent trans movement. In 2011, the government allowed the screening of Facing Mirror, a highly acclaimed feature film chronicling the life of a trans man who is disowned by his family and ridiculed by society. The film was highly praised by the Iranian media, including by the ultra-conservative Kayhan newspaper. In recent years, an Iranian movie super-star, Behnoosh Bakhtiari, with over 5 million followers on Instagram, has become the honorary ambassador of the trans community, educating the public about gender identity and advocating for society to embrace trans individuals and treat them with respect.

While positive steps towards trans rights recognition have been made, the reality of daily life in Iran is still plagued by discrimination, abuse, and arbitrary arrest. Trans individuals are both grossly misunderstood and horrendously mistreated in Iran. As documented in OutRight Action International’s most recent human rights report, “Being Transgender in Iran”, Hasti, a 30-year-old trans woman was detained and harassed by the Iranian police for wearing makeup and presenting as a woman at a private function. She said:

…The [police] would lift up my dress, looked at my ID card and ask me if I was a man or a woman. In the end they forced me to sign a pledge letter [to promise that I would no longer dress as a woman] and then released me.

Iranian authorities firmly root trans experiences in pathological explanations, believing that it is a psychosexual disease. In Iran, trans individuals are officially referred to as people with a “gender identity disorder” (GID). This goes against global trends of declassifying trans identity as a disorder. In 2012, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders reclassified GID as Gender Dysphoria, and currently the World Health Organization is moving towards declassifying trans identity as a mental disorder altogether. In line with such a narrow medicalized understanding of trans experiences, the Iranian government only recognizes the preferred gender of trans people who have successfully undergone complete gender confirmation surgery.

These strict requirements are prohibitive. Not all trans individuals are willing, able, or allowed to surgically change their anatomy as the right to access gender confirmation surgery is not guaranteed. The Iranian government has set up an elaborate legal and medical system to evaluate each and every sex reassignment application. Only those who successfully pass a long medical evaluation and are officially diagnosed with GID can obtain the government-issued license to start the gender reassignment process, and hopefully obtain their new legal national ID card, which reflects their gender identity.

The scope of Iran’s laws fail to recognize the rights of trans individual who do not wish to undergo the medical transition process. Many Iranian trans individuals do not wish to alter their body. Some simply cannot afford the multiple medical procedures, which can span over several years and may cost thousands of dollars. This is a hefty price tag for low and middle-income Iranians, thus making the medical procedure unattainable. Additionally, many trans individuals face financial instability because social, educational, and employment barriers deprive them of economic opportunities. Due to social stigma and discrimination, trans individuals often also cannot rely on the financial or moral support of their families.

The Iranian government can do more to demonstrate its commitment to the rights of its trans citizens. Revisiting the narrow medical definition of the trans experience is a critical first step in this direction. Debunking the medicalized understanding of the trans experience would help Iranian trans community members fight against demeaning social stereotypes and avoid being subjected to medical experiments. It would also allow the gender identity of trans individuals to be legally recognized without forcefully altering their body or being labeled as suffering from an illness.

Iran prides itself on being one of the few Muslim countries with legal recognition for trans rights. Isn’t it time for the Iranian policy makers to revamp their views on gender identity and develop a progressive legal framework, one that discontinues categorizing transgender persons as deformed individuals warranting pity and sympathy? Iran should evolve the discourse and treatment of transgender citizens and recognize that these individuals as wholesome human beings with the right to dignity and respect.


**Note: Outright Action International has recently released two reports concerning the situation of Transgender people and Lesbians in Iran accessible at the following link.

Kevin Schumacher( aka Hossein Alizedah)  is the Regional Program Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa for OutRight Action International. OutRight Action International’s mission is to advance human rights for everyone, everywhere to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.



  1. hunter on sale

    How can i extend the range of a Wireless N router? I have an Xtreme N handheld router (Dlink). I have to extend the reach in the wireless signal. I know how to do it for the G signal. I want to know how to do the idea for an N sign. Is it possible make…

  2. oakley store sale

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the…

  3. parfum hermes pour homme

    il est également l’un des plus extraordinaryin literature.In le poème suivant, par conséquent, les images et les incidents ont beenborrowed, non seulement sans scrupule, mais en principe, de theincomparable bataille morceaux de Homer.The croyance pop…

  4. barbour ladies jackets

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  5. chanel outlet online

    That is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and stay up for in search of more of your magnificent post. Additionally, Ive shared your web site in my social networks!

  6. montre hermes cape code

    mouchoirs, eau de Cologne, des cure-dents, et un silencieux certainwoollen très réconfortant à l’magen, des échantillons de son habileté incandle de décision, à offrir comme des jetons d’action de grâces quand herholiday temps était over.Four de l’…

  7. cheap jimmy choo

    Howdy, i learn your weblog sometimes and that i personal an analogous one and i was simply wondering should you get numerous spam feedback? In that case how do you forestall it, any plugin or anything you may advise? I get a lot recently it is driving…

  8. emu boots store

    Youre not the regular blog author, man. You definitely have something important to contribute to the World Wide Web. Such a wonderful blog. I will revisit again for more.

  9. herve leger dress sale

    So use the product/products or service personally before you register as an affiliate to see if it can really deliver what it promises there is a lot of stuff out there that does not. If you did this then youre one of the credible and living testaments…

  10. Air max pas cher

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I¡®ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  11. golden goose paris

    Sous la direction de Marconi a écrit: À mon avis, ce serait une politique erronée à introduire législation à empêcher des amateurs expérimenter avec la télégraphie sans fil qui theauthorities envisageaient. il n’y avait pas eu des amateurs, wirelesst…

  12. annayalla ns

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  13. website

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely excellent. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you…

  14. Historie

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I¡®ll probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

  15. hermes contrefacon

    constituants à leur portée, également pro-vide d’un véhicule unique pour transmettre l’importance de protéger forestsand autres aspects de la biodiversité, et leurs liens à atténuer les dirigeants de poverty.Faith ont une occasion unique d’encourag…

  16. hermes fabrication

    Perspectives et la compréhension de PovertyThe Agenda du travail décent, comme l’a façonnée l’OIT depuis 1998, va un stepfurther pour mettre en évidence le degré auquel la dignité humaine est towork central. En couplant les concepts de travail et de…

  17. golden goose enfants

    la marge, quand il est revenu le reportto l’intendant, la satisfaction Goodexpress. Si elle était plus thansufficient, écrivait-il, la satisfaction Goodexpress et de la sensibilité. Thereis rien de nouveau sous le soleil. En 1761, le gouvernement, as…

  18. sac hermes jane birkin

    Prince Theseus; et comme un youngprince brave qu’il était, il a mis la main à la garde de son épée. Quel genre de amonster peut-il être? Est-il pas possible, au risque de ceux la vie, à slayhim? Mais le roi Aegeus secoua la tête vénérable, et de conv…

  19. golden goose francy

    souvenirs de ballons, et wasdevastated quand elle est morte après un accident de l’entraîneur, âgé de soixante-quatorze, en 1818. Evennow le vieux libertin Tahitian parfois refait surface, comme quand il reprocha theelegant socialite la duchesse de S…

  20. scarpe valentino uomo outlet

    o la colazione al eightoclock, se questo non sia troppo presto per te? Si può ottenere via, se siete in ahurry, con il treno alle 10:30, che vi porterà a Paddington per 02:35. Donot rispondere a questo, come io prende stilisti valentino rò in modo che…

  21. borse burberry saldi

    tutto proibito come impura e sconveniente … E ‘estremam portafoglio uomo burberry prezzo ente importante che allcounters sono tenuti liberi da pasticci … Davy è stato quello di ricordare questi instructionswhen ha cercato di imporre l’ordine sul…

  22. golden goose saldi

    prezzo del pasto varia tra cinque roubles.One andseven poteva ottenere questo pasto in qualsiasi momento tra due e sette. Livinghungrily attraverso la mattina, alle due in punto ho usato per sperimentare defini golden gose terelief nella consapevolezz…

  23. camicia uomo burberry prezzo

    una dea. Come questi due esseri divini erano in piedi sul ponte galleggiante-zione del cielo, due ballerine venuto; e gli dei, a guardare il amorosa Dalli-ANCE dei due uccelli, inventato l’arte dell’amore. Dalla loro unione così inauguratedsprang le…

  24. sneaker burberry

    Mozambico: Post-War ricostruzione e il LINK NGOForum, 1987-1994. . In Jon Bennett, Ed, soddisfare le esigenze: NGO Coordination inPractice.London: Earthscan.Contreras, Joseph. 1994. Long Road Home page. Rolling Stone. Dicembre 29.European Commissione,…

  25. portachiavi uomo burberry

    e in thedirection del legno, passando per il villaggio di Frishermont sulla mia fronte left.In a me giaceva il grande bosco, chiamato il Bosco di Parigi, consistingmostly di querce, con alcuni stretti sentieri che conducono attraverso di essa. I halte…

  26. montres hermes

    beau-père, je suis allé jouer par la rivière à jour, avec un ami; et comme il était tome impoli, je l’ai jeté dans l’eau et tué him.When son père a entendu parler ainsi, très calmement, comme si rien hadhappened, il était stupéfait, et dit-Il est en…

  27. profumo uomo burberry

    sostituzione di rapprese-entatives le cui opinioni e sentimenti virtuosi illuminati rendono themsuperior di pregiudizi e schemi di ingiustizia locali? Non sarà bedenied che la rappresentanza dell’Unione sarà più probabile che possessthese dotazioni n…

  28. hermes bague argent

    Sur ce nombre, il anatomies être louable, je l’espère, nous allons recevoir une peine morefavourable. Cette purification de l’esprit, cet enrichissement de la mémoire, ce qui permet de jugement, et l’élargissement de la vanité, qui souvent nous cal…

  29. cinture hermes outlet

    né legno per palizzate, né spine per via hedges.Our era sul Firth of Tay, dove, anche se l’acqua era notwide, abbiamo pagato quattro scellini per traghettare la chaise. In Scozia thenecessaries della vita sono facilmente acquistati, ma il superfluo e…

  30. parka burberry uomo

    che molti nel world.783When scientifico del grande quaranta-piede era finalmente messo in funzione nella primavera del 1789, la scoperta Herschelsfirst era Mimas, una delle piccole lune più interne di Saturno, con adiameter di solo 250 miglia. Questo…

  31. cinture hermes uomo

    ben regolata milizia di essere la difesa più NAT-Ural di un paese libero, dovrebbe certamente essere sotto la Regula-zione ed a disposizione di quel corpo che è costituito custode diLa sicurezza nazionale. Se eserciti permanenti sono pericolosi per la…

  32. Admiring the persistence you put into your site and in depth information you
    offer. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Great read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  33. This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to
    keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to
    start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  34. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I’ve shared your site in my social

  35. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over
    again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  36. This is the perfect web site for anyone who would like to understand this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue
    with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a new spin on a subject that’s been discussed
    for a long time. Great stuff, just wonderful!

  37. I do believe all the ideas you have presented for your post.
    They are really convincing and can certainly work.

    Still, the posts are too brief for beginners. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?

    Thank you for the post.

  38. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than three hours nowadays,
    but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours.
    It’s pretty price sufficient for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made just
    right content as you probably did, the web will be much more helpful than ever before.

  39. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would enjoy your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  40. I enjoy what you dudes are up to. This type of smart work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic work friends, I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll.

  41. Hey, you’re certainly correct. I frequently go through your articles attentively. I’m likewise looking into forex strategy generator, perhaps you might discuss this occasionally. See you soon!

  42. Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

  43. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site. Studying this info So i am satisfied to exhibit that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I so much indisputably will make sure to do not disregard this website and give it a glance regularly.

  44. I am really loving the design of your internet site. Do you ever encounter any kind of browser compatibility issues? A few of the website readers have complained concerning my followers instagram site not working properly in Internet Explorer yet looks awesome in Safari. Have you got any suggestions to aid repair that problem?

  45. [url=]Levitra Prescrizione[/url]
    Use an eye pencil as an alternative to liquefied eyeliner whenever you can. Eye pencils give you a a lot less extraordinary look, when water eyeliner could be excessive. When you have to use liquid eyeliner, make sure you pull your cover downward with one palm while using it together with your other hand.
    [url=]Kamagra Oral Jelly Switzerland[/url]
    Among the finest strategies to keep the atmosphere that could arise in a natural way inside your panorama would be to find native plants. Search for plants that expand independently in the area and location. They may call for hardly any operate to take care of.
    [url=]Cialis Shop Deutschland[/url]
    Center on experiencing a healthy diet in your cancers therapy. Having better will provide you with more energy for everything you are dealing with. It will help you really feel less anxious because your system may have the gasoline it requires for the entire day. Research shows that eating properly may also extend your daily life.
    [url=]Cialis Originale Lilly Icos[/url]

  46. Feelings that may save you from writing your book. Essay writing generally comes as a challenge for men and women who aren’t utilised to composing essays and it’s an extremely enormous job typically for the students who don’t have any type of experience in writing essays.
    Content writing can also be a sort of essay writing, only you must be cautious using the rules, if you feel that it’s possible to compose essay properly then readily you might also compose the articles, it is not in any way a massive thing. It is the chief part of the prewriting procedure of an article.
    Personalised assignment writing service company will have their own sites Apparently, a poorly written article reflects the sort of service which you offer.
    You might also want to suggest more study or comment on things that it wasn’t possible that you discuss in the newspaper. The writing profession includes many perks. In case you have any financial essay writing difficulty, let us know for we will aid you with writings which are quality and which are free from plagiarism.
    For instance research demonstrates that at United States of america, there has been a excellent shift in multicultural counseling after the 1960s Civil Rights movement and understanding and affliction of the minority considerably changed in the nation So, as soon as you are doing your assignment you should be conscious you’ve set all required information regarding your research. A student looking for quality financial research papers should go to an organization with a fantastic reputation on submitting its job punctually.
    Whatever the consequences, the expression paper writing service industry will nevertheless grow. After going through the business information and terms and conditions, if you are pleased with their services, you can choose a specific small business. The writing service should additionally have a warranty that all work is distinctive and original from a number of other content.

  47. I carry on listening to the news talk about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i find some?

  48. Howdy, you are definitely right. I frequently look over your articles thoroughly. I am likewise curious about forex robot review, perhaps you might discuss that sometimes. Good day!

  49. Hi can you inform me which blogging platform you’re using? I am looking to start out my personal blog on forex robot in the near future although I’m having difficulties choosing.

  50. [url=]Generique Viagra En Pharmacie[/url]
    Get thorough sizes from the place you’re beautifying prior to starting looking for furnishings. Dimension is important. Calculate each your room and then any home furniture you plan on acquiring. Just because it may go with an area, doesn’t indicate it is of a useful dimensions. Be sure that you’re nevertheless going to be able to go walking around in the room with ease.
    [url=]Lovegra Funziona Forum[/url]
    It’s possible that you can make shortcuts beyond doubt phrases and words that you employ typically. All you have to do is go to Options, then Common, then Key-board, lastly pick Add more New Shortcut. This allows you to add shortcuts to new phrases and words. As an example, if you are interested in “Employment in Metro atlanta, Georgia,” you could just kind “EAG,” as well as the key phrase will be typed out for yourself.
    [url=]Levitra Farmacias Del Ahorro Mexico[/url]
    The internet is the perfect and lowest priced way to assist you to increase your photo expertise. You can find a mil and something weblogs and taking photos resource websites that will help you are taking far better pictures. You will discover stage-by-step guides and instruction, practical information and a bunch of motivation — all at no cost.
    [url=énérique-Levitra-Levitra-20mg-Prix-En-Pharmacie]Kamagra 100mg[/url]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here