Iran Gender Ratio and LGBT
Proportion of literate adults: 87% (estimated 2015)
Major religion: Islam (Shiite) approx. 90%
Urban population: 71% (estimated)
Life expectancy (female / male): 78/74 (estimated, 2018)
Gender Inequality Index: Rank 65 (of 162) (2018)
Number of births: 1.66 / woman (estimated, 2016)
Infant mortality: 39/1000 live births
In general, the family in Iran, as in most other Islamic societies, enjoys a high priority. The difference between town and country is also noticeable here, in relation to the relationship between men and women and the role of women in society.
In the country, the traditional Islamic role model is still largely valid, the chador, the full-body veil, still dominates the streets here. In the big cities this understanding of roles has meanwhile shifted, even if not in all parts of the city. Even during the revolution of 1978/79 women played an important role, which gave them a certain self-confidence from the start. The long war against Iraq also helped anchor women in public life. During these eight years, despite all possible ideological concerns, the labor force of women was simply indispensable. After the war, they could no longer be imagined or removed from public life.
The different and changing positions of women are also reflected in the number of children: While in many rural, especially the more remote areas, five children are the norm, in Tehran and Esfahan the average is less than two. In particular, many young women today rebel against the nominally still very strict rules, especially on the basis of the dress code for women, the battle between a more secularly oriented youth in the cities and the system is fought out in public.
One movement that has grown in popularity in recent years is Islamic feminism. This wants to enforce the rights of women by means of an Islamic argument.
Even if the position of women in Iran, contrary to all prejudices against the Islamic Republic, is much better in practice than in many other countries in the region, women are anything but equal here. One area in which the lack of equality has recently attracted international attention is football. In principle, women are prohibited from entering football stadiums for reasons of general morality, but after the self-immolation of a young woman, the Iranian Football Association relaxed this ban, even if initially only for international matches. In addition, the murder of a father of his daughter in the name of family honor in May 2020 led to intense and extremely controversial debates in Iran itself about the continued subordinate role of women in Iranian society.
LGBT rights in Iran
According to physicscat, in Iran, it is now possible to get a sex change to undergo and to register the new gender legally, ultimately to a fatwa Khomeini from 1986 back. Some of the costs for this are even borne by the state. However, this is less due to the tolerance of the Islamic Republic than to the predominant binary conception of the sexes in the creation of man by God.
Sexual intercourse is only allowed in marriage and marriage is in turn reserved exclusively for heterosexual couples. Same-sex intercourse and acts similar to sexual intercourse, as well as any other form of extra-marital intercourse, are prohibited in the Islamic Republic and, in extreme cases, can even be punished with death.
The history of LGBT people in Iran is nonetheless a long one, depictions of same-sex love, for example, can be found numerous in classical Iranian literature. In addition, some poems of the canonical poets of Iran, such as Saadi, are now as subtle to explicitly homoerotic interpreted. Under Reza Shah, homoeroticism disappeared from the public and literature due to a strongly bipolar gender system as a result of modernization and the associated westernization with its Victorian moral concept. Under his son Mohammad Reza Shah, homosexuality was even tolerated by the state, in line with his policies critical of religion. This changed with the Iranian Revolution in 1978/79, when even a victim of same-sex rape is not spared and may face the death penalty. The rejection of non-heterosexual behavior in Iran is widespread today, including executions, even in the case of underage perpetrators or people who are convicted as such.
The social pressure within many families with regard to appropriate behavior of their own children is sometimes great. Political activities with regard to LGTB rights are prohibited, only cautious indications of support can be found on the websites of some political groups, often from abroad. In addition, there are often networks operated from abroad that campaign for LGBT rights in Iran. However, these attempts have so far not led to any fundamental legal changes, as confirmed by the statements made recently by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who argue with Iran’s “moral principles”.