It was a Thursday night in Istanbul and I was sitting on a patio at a going away party with three Persian cousins: two men living in Istanbul for graduate school and a woman living there who works as a journalist. So it’s forbidden by law, informal dating when you’re not married. The men explained that when a woman gets married she decides on an amount of money that the man owes them if they get divorced. Also they’re graduating a lot more from university, to the extent that if a girl and boy are both applying to the same department at university, they’ve lowered the standards for the boys to try to even it out.
I didn’t want to turn playtime into work time but the opportunity seemed too ripe to relinquish. How often do we get to share a beer and actually try to understand each other? I told them that I was writing about dating cultures in different countries. But you know, everything forbidden is more interesting.” I asked how dating is different for them in Istanbul than it is back home and both men instantly replied that it was way easier to date back home in Iran. ” One said and laughed, but then added more seriously, “Maybe they feel more freely. But because they are so repressed, they go to extremes to compensate. They’re totally dressed up and made up and with the hair… They’ve got like three boyfriends, they’re always screwing around… They explained that the right of divorce is the man’s, but that most middle and upper class men sign a clause in their pre-nuptial agreement giving their wife the same right. The graduation rates are like 62 percent girls.” I walked away from this conversation a bit rattled and sad.
In 1963, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini wrote a book in which he stated that there was no religious restriction on corrective surgery for intersex individuals, though this did not apply to those without physical ambiguity in sex organs.
At the time Khomeini was a radical, anti-Shah revolutionary and his fatwas did not carry any weight with the Imperial government, which did not have any specific policies regarding transgender individuals.
Before the revolution, she had longed to become physically female but could not afford surgery and wanted religious authorization.
She says this app provides women with “information and services that are not forbidden in Iran, but that are not available because they are politically or socially taboo.” In Iran, anything related to women’s bodies is taboo.
They will not permit women to teach at boys' schools.
They will not permit men to teach at girls' schools. Correspondingly, bad hijabi (improper veiling”) was considered a cultural crime.
Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the issue of trans identity in Iran had never been officially addressed by the government.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, transgender individuals were officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery.