HOWEVER, “[t]he persecution of gays has led to a boom in demand for sex-change operations in Iran. More operations of this kind are carried out in the Islamic Republic than anywhere else in the world apart from Thailand. These procedures were approved by Ayatollah Khomeini himself in 1983. Khomeini defined transsexuality as a disease that can be healed by means of an operation. Since then thousands of people have requested this kind of treatment and the Iranian government even covers part of the costs.
“'Family members and physicians urge homosexuals to have operations to normalize their sexual orientation,' Parsi says. This way it was possible for a high-ranking Shiite religious scholar to finance his secretary's physical transformation into a woman and then to marry him.”
-- “The Gay Sons of Allah: Wave of Homophobia Sweeps the Muslim World”, by Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Daniel Steinvorth, in Der Spiegel
Two young men under the ages of 18 face execution in northern Iran in 2005, accused of raping boys. Gay men face persecution in the Islamic Republic and many are opting for sex-change operations.
[Photo/caption: Der Spiegel]