Iran advanced a bill in its parliament to strengthen legal protections for transgender people in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s decades-old recognition of transsexuality and its financial support for transgender Iranians seeking sex-change procedures reinforces gender and undermines the rights of gay and lesbian people. The new bill, sent to parliament this week, provides transsexual Iranians more robust protections against possible police harassment.
Justice For Iran (JFI) and 6Rang, an Iranian lesbian and transgender network, issued a report in 2014 indicating that Iranian doctors routinely pressure lesbians and gays to undergo sex change operations including sterilisation.
Transsexuality was legalised after revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict in 1985 authorising sex change operations.
Iran carries out among the highest number of sex changes in the world and is the only country that imposes the death penalty for homosexual behaviour while permitting sex changes.