foreign anthropologist

Iranian Laws

With respect to LGB individuals, Iran’s legal system is emblematic, unequivocal and adamant in its non-acceptance and non-recognition of homosexuality. With the approval and ratification of Parliament and the Guardian Council in Articles 108 through 140 of the Iranian Civil Code distinctly deal with same-sex sexual activities and their punishments in detail. The adverse and broad-ranging impact of these laws and punishment of criminalizing consensual, private same-sex conduct between two adults are punctilious in its interpretation that same sex relationships are simply wrong. An Iranian member of parliament Mohsen Yahyavi blatantly admitted that the government in Iran believes that homosexuals should be executed or tortured and possibly both.

The Judiciary does not acknowledge the concept of sexual orientation other than heterosexuality and thus from a legal standpoint there are no homosexuals or bisexuals, only persons committing homosexual acts. As Iran is ruled by Shari law, there is a particularly harsh legal stance on homosexuality including lashes and death penalty. Homosexual relation without anal penetration carries a penalty of 100 lashes and anal intercourse will be punished with death by hanging.

According to Sharia law individuals can be convicted of homosexuality only if they confess four times or if four “righteous” Muslim men testify they witnessed a homosexual act taking place.

In essence, the mainstream Islamic stance on homosexuality is fundamentally negative.

The new Islamic Penal Code targets those whose sexuality is believed to defy social norms and serves as a justification for state action to remove the “offenders” from the community. Within the structure of many penal codes, if not in the minds of the general public, sodomy laws are conflated with crimes of moral turpitude such a rape, sexual assault, incest and sexual abuse of children. This has let the public to believe that homosexuality is on par with abhorrent crimes of sexual violence with acts of non-procreative sex and innocent defenceless children.

Rape and child sexual abuse are reprehensible and heinous crimes; being LGBT is not. As recognised by the American Psychiatric Association, pedophilia is not a sexual orientation,

whilst homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Unfortunately homosexuals and other members of the LGBT community are often lumped with paedophiles and sexual deviants that justifies their ostracisation from society, punishment and execution.

Homosexuality has always been a contentious topic in Iran due to the stigma surrounding homophobia views of certain members of society. Iran is a traditional society that operates on a basic premise that homosexuality is an abnormality.

Mashregh News- a news website “close to the security and intelligence organizations, has described homosexuals as “individuals who have become mentally troubled in natural human tendencies, have lost their balance, and require psychological support and treatment.

Traditional society dealing with what are assumed abnormalities such as heterosexualism is neither a new story in Iran nor is the combat against it, but the manner in which Iran exposes perceived “abnormalities “to maintain control over its sexual minorities is yet a controversial issue rooted in its past and in the present. From the work of Mehrangiz Kar of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission concludes that” the dominant political elite, relying on an official religious stance, refuses to tolerate any non-conforming sexual conduct or gender expression.

Security officers often raid the parties and other gatherings of LGBT Iranians, sometimes leading to arrests and detainment of LGBT rights activists who then face additional obstacles in their efforts to accommodate their identity in the current context of Iranian society.

Not only are there explicit laws forbidding homosexuality, the government’s attitude towards Lesbian Gays and Bisexual in Iran manifests itself in non-codified forms, including unofficial policies that are intolerant towards LGBTs. These policies often discourage sexual minorities from reporting hate crimes which will expose them to an even greater risk of abuse and labelling LGBT as an mental illness

Read more: Migration and Gender for Iranian LGBT

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