Under The Veil

In Iran homosexuality is punishable by death, however, transsexuality is considered a disease that can be solved with surgery. A religious edict issued in 1980 by Ayatollah Khomeini legalized sex change operations that would correct this deviation. The question is that this apparent advance in the rights of transsexuals is only a desperate way out for many homosexuals, who, after pressure and harassment from family, society and the police make the decision to change their sex to feel safe and protected within the law. In Iran there is no sex education at the school, no information about sexual diversity, and even the very people who make up the LGBTI community in Iran are very confused about what is sexual orientation an what is gender identity. A society where homosexuality is the great taboo, and which denies that it exists, as former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated at Columbia University: «In Iran we do not have homosexuals», leads to the most widespread idea, even among a large number of homosexuals, that if you are attracted to a man it is because you are really a woman, and if that is so, you should have a sex change operation.

There is a very high number of suicides among people who have had surgery about 30%. The operation only solves a legal situation and saves them from prison or death, but it does not avoid social rejection, which is even greater after the operation, nor the psychological consequences it leaves in many of those operated who were not really transgender people.