Trans[ition] in Iran

Iran performs more sex change operations than any other country except Thailand. The Islamic Republic treats homosexuality as a sin, even punishable by death, and transsexuality as a medical condition that can be cured through state-sanctioned surgery. In this interactive timeline, World Policy takes a look at the history of Iran's evolution of transition.

1930-01-01 13:53:46

Iranian Press Recognizes Sex-Change Surgeries

Earliest references to surgeries to alter congenital sex conditions in the Iranian press.

1940-01-01 13:53:46

The Conversation Starts

Some of the earliest discussions of transsexuality in Iran.

1964-01-01 13:53:46

The Approval of Sex-Change Operations

Ayatollah Khomeini approves of sex change operations in his master treatise Tahrir al-Wasilha.

1970-01-01 13:53:46

The First Operations

One hospital in Tehran and one in Shiraz carry out non-intersex sex change surgery.

1970-01-01 13:53:46

Sex Change Operations Ruled Unacceptable

The Medical Association of Iran rules that sex change operations, except in intersex cases, are ethically unacceptable.

1973-01-01 13:53:46

Another Milestone for Non-intersex Sex Change Surgery

Earliest non-intersex sex change surgery reported in Iranian press.

1978-01-01 13:53:46

Maryam's Letter

Maryam Molkara, then known as Fereydoon, receives a letter from Ayatollah Khomeini from exile, giving her his blessing to surgically undergo a surgical sex change.

1979-01-01 13:53:46

The Revolution

Islamic Revolution of Iran.

1982-01-01 13:53:46

Islamic Law

Penal codes based on Islamic Law are codified, rendering extra-marital sex and homosexual behavior punishable by death in certain circumstances.

1985-01-01 13:53:46

A Fatwa is Issued

Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa sanctioning sex change operations, reiterating his earlier statement from his written works. As the highest religious authority in Iran and the leader of the Iranian revolution, his edict now had the force of law.

Trans[ition] in Iran

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