Much of world’s LGBT people have been fooled into thinking Iran is a welcoming place for transgender people. It’s a convenient perception especially with the increased awareness of Islamophobia. After all, many argue, the government offers free sexual reassignment surgery(SRS). What more could be asked for?
And yes, transsexuality has been officially legal since a fatwa was issued in 1987 by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Guardian reported that the religious ruling (allowing SRS) was issued thanks to the activities in the 1980s of Maryam Khatoon Molkara, a campaigner for the rights of transsexuals in Iran, who wrote to Khomeini asking him to determine their fate. Molkara had herself previously been a man, and worked for the state TV before the Islamic revolution in 1979. In the mid-70s, she started to write to Khomeini, who was in exile, asking for religious authorisation for a sex-change operation. In 1987, after a decade of campaigning, she went in person to the home of Khomeini, by then the country’s supreme leader, and came back with a fatwa in hand that allowed transsexuals to choose their sex.
SRS isn’t just offered, it’s mandated. Trans people must have it. It’s also a requirement for gay people. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that LGBT people do not exist in Iran during a Q and A at Columbia University in 2007. Those in attendance started laughing thinking that he was joking. Ahmadinejad was dead serious. Iran’s final solution is nothing short of government-sponsored eugenics.
The operation is performed haphazardly and without medical support afterwards. Iran’s final solution leaves many of its victims in extreme pain, some even defecating through the torn walls of their vagina. The point of the operation isn’t to help a person to have a fulfilling life. It is meant to make sure that the individual can not reproduce.
Martha Honey told Planet Transgender “Iran is a hard country even for heterosexual people but what about trans people? Most of them prostitute themselves or kill themselves after surgery. I refused the government’s mandated sterilization so it was impossible for me to live in Iran.”
“I’m really worried about trans people in Iran. Most of them don’t need surgery but have it because the government and society pressure them to do so. The situation in Iran for trans people is horrible. They are alone without any support and they have to fight with the government and police too. Trans girls are not accepted by the government just cisgender females and males are.”
So Martha left Iran but with little knowledge of the world or a workable plan and little money. Iran’s government executed bloggers who defied them during the Green revolution virtually cutting Iran off from the internet and the world.
Martha Honey continued “At first I went to Armenia, but that was before I learned of the United Nations. Armenia was a bad country for trans people so I went to Turkey after that but with a legal passport. About 20 days after arriving with the help of from some local LGBT activists I went to UN. I told them that I’m a refugee and that I needed help. That was around 11 months ago and since I’ve stayed in Turkey without a Visa because I’m a refugee.
After two more interviews, the UN recognized me a trans girl around 40 days ago.
“But I waited for those interviews for 9 months, can you believe this, without any help!”
Turkey isn’t a safe place for trans people to be as Martha explains. “I don’t have a job here. people don’t give me a job because of culture and most of them hate trans people. I live with one of my friends as a guest. I didn’t have money to rent an apartment.”
“I’ll leave Turkey hopefully in around 11 months headed to America or Canada. But first there’s more paperwork and interview before I can leave for my forever home.”