Iran Is Super Accepting of Sex Changes
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Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once infamously alleged that his country contained exactly zero homosexuals, as if debunking their very existence and demoting them to the realm of unicorns and Bigfoot. It's understandable from his perspective why he'd want to believe that, because if you're gay in Iran, you can get stoned, and definitely not the good kind of stoned.
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"I should've moved to North Korea."
So if the tendency to rub the wrong kinds of bits together is a crime punishable by death, you can only imagine how they treat transgender people in Iran. And you're probably imagining wrong, because the transgender community has hardly any hassles at all. In fact, unofficial estimates put the number at around 150,000 people, which makes Iran second only to Thailand in terms of the size of their gender-swapping population. In 1987, Ayatollah Khomeini instituted a specific fatwa that not only made gender reassignment surgery legal, but made the government help people pay for it. Not just the surgery, either, but the accompanying hormone treatments as well.
As magnanimous as this sounds for one of the world's harshest theocracies, it can be argued that they're doing it for all the wrong reasons. As we mentioned, the Iranian government doesn't want there to be any gays in their country, so they figure that giving people the freedom to change their sex is a way of solving the problem (because apparently a gay man is just a straight woman on the inside. That must be how it works, right?). Basically, they accept transsexualism through the sheer force of their homophobia.
Next up: overcoming homophobia by fear of women's rights.
Sex reassignments must be authorized by a government-certified psychiatrist and sometimes a sexologist -- a profession whose basis may or may not be founded upon books on sex so old, they're written on papyrus. Prospective patients must undergo multiple sessions with up to six different psychiatrists, as well as see a forensic examiner from the governmental medical agency that oversees the surgeries. Upon reassignment, the individual literally becomes a new person -- their old birth certificate is destroyed, and a new identity is issued. Newer laws stipulate increased compensation for the individuals, and there's even a proposition to allow loans for transgender individuals to start their own business ventures. So if you're looking to start up that gourmet cupcake bakery or other small business on the cheap, just go to Iran and get a sex change.
J. is writing a book. You can't read it yet, but you can help start a bidding war. Eric Yosomono dreams of running his own harsh dictatorial society, and you can read about it on Gaijinass.com.
Related Reading: Speaking of oppressive societies, elevate your mood by reading about these Chinese citizens who flout censorship via memes. If you believe that the Middle Ages were all oppression and misery, you should read this article. Want to read about the most hilarious nightmare dictatorship in the world today? This is the link for you.