Forced Gender Reassignment on LGBTQIA Community in Iran: Interview with Fariba Sahraei

June 18, 2020

Features Editor, Natalie Alleyne, joins Iran International TV’s Senior Editor, Fariba Sahraei, in the conversation of Iran’s enforcement of gender binaries through forced gender reassignment surgery, and what they mean for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Interview by Natalie Alleyne

Feminism still needs to be decolonised.  In order to be worthy allies and to offer valuable support, we need to learn how to receive our Muslim sisters, middle eastern sisters and queer, trans, intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) with their experiences and needs centralised. And yet, with the fragility of international affairs between Iran and the West, it can be difficult to know how to navigate standing for certain changes in Iran, while strictly keeping our voices separate from becoming lost in the jumble of war mongering and Islamophobia that no doubt exists. 

In 1987, Iran became the only nation on the Persian Gulf coast to permit the legal recognition of the gender identity of its transgender citizens. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of eight Islamic countries that share the gulf region, the other seven are Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In comparison to its neighbouring regions,  Iran not only permits gender confirmation surgery, but subsidises it. On the surface, in ‘putting their money where their mouth is,’ Iran’s support and advocacy for the fair treatment of its trans gendered citizens appears to be a gleaming gold star for human rights, however, examined in full context, we quickly learn this is, regrettably, not the case...