Gays and Transsexuals in Iran

After Iran’s president last week uttered his ludicrous statement about Iran not having any gays, here’s a Washington Post essay penned by a 25-year-old gay Iranian man, Amir, that strikes back. And here’s a NY Times article by Nazila Fathi, which essentially says the same thing as Amir’s essay – that gay culture, like many things, exists in Iran – it’s just truly on the downlow. Above you’ll see the CBC’s February report about Iranian gays. What’s interesting to me is this quote in the NYT article:

“There is a thick wall between homosexuals and transsexuals,” Mr. Kariminia [a cleric who wrote his thesis on Islam and transsexuality] said. “Transsexuals are sick because they are not happy with their sexuality, and so they should be treated. But homosexuality is considered a deviant act.”

That same cleric is featured in this fascinating Current TV report on Iranian transsexuals by Yasmin Vossoughian and Kouross Esmaeli (via Iranian Truth). Watch the whole thing.

Update: Also see this NYT op-ed, which is comprised of translated reactions to the Ahmadinejad speech from Iranian bloggers. Very cool.

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30 Sep 2007, 1:16pm
by Koroosh Shirazi

Are you really retarded? Dont you know better? Are you that naive? Ahmadinejad was saying that homosexuality is not sometime of widespread phenomenon in the way it exists here in US. thats a fact, despite the couple hundred/thousand that may exist in the entire country of 70 million. Moreover Iranian people are extremely homophobic and despise gays. Another fact. This has nothing to do with Ahmadinejad. Iran has more important problems to deal with than some miscommunication which you seek to exploit.

1. I’m not retarded, nor am I naive.
2. I saw and heard the entirety of what Ahmadinejad said with my own eyes and ears, and I understand Persian so I know I’m right.
3. Even if, as you say, what he “meant” was that homosexuality isn’t as visible in Iran as it is in the US, that’s a moot point, because the government WON’T ALLOW IT TO BE VISIBLE. So how would you know how many gays there are in Iran? Have you taken a poll or done a study? Obviously they’re a minority, as they are in the United States. But that doesn’t mean that homosexuality isn’t as widespread there as it is in the U.S. – it just means it’s hidden. Watch the CBC report.
4. Not all Iranian people are hateful homophobes (like you?). Some of them are gay, after all, and some are open-minded and tolerant. Hating someone for being gay is what’s truly retarded. Executing someone for being gay is backward and disgusting and wrong. Having this hatred institutionalized as a country’s policy is really a crime against human rights. Iran is not the only country with this problem. But this blog is interested in Iranians, so that’s why this post exists.
5. I’m not exploiting anything. I noticed writing about the gay comment in several places and then saw something about the transsexuals, and thought it was interesting how these two topics are treated differently in Iran.


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