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Monday, 26 October 2009

Iranian transgenders are not secure in Iran

Source: Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees  - IRQR

Iranian transsexuals in fact experience humiliation, assault and abuse, if not outright death - and not just by government agents, but also by neighbours, family members, and those considered friends.

We have received reports very recently from our contacts in Iran exemplifying the torment endured by transgendered persons. On Saturday October 10, members of Basiji forces fired a gun at Sahar, an Iranian transgender, in the Abbasabad Street of Tehran. Sahar was hit in the shoulder and was taken to hospital by her friends. Once she is out of hospital, however, her safety is not assured.

According to another report, on Wednesday October 14, Iranian transgender Mahsa was knifed by two motorcyclists at an intersection in Tehran. Her lung injured, Mahsa was taken to hospital by a friend. So far no one knows who attacked her. We asked one of our representatives in Tehran to see Mahsa at hospital, but she is not allowed to accept visitors now. Our representative did talk to her by phone and reported that she may be well enough for release from hospital in the near term.

Like their gay and lesbian friends, transgenders are always in danger of being beaten and arrested by Basiji forces, which are loosely organized volunteer militias supported by local clerics. Basiji forces are not required to show their identification, and cannot be held accountable for their actions. Transgendered people are also the targets of special government police forces. Even when these police forces do not have specific orders to arrest transgendered people, they can easily fake a reason for arrest, take them into custody, and form a criminal file on them.

Once this criminal file is created, the accused can be taken to Mafased (a government organization responsible for dealing with moral "corruption"), imprisoning him/her for days and subjecting him/her to physical and psychological torture. The incarceration and abuse can be extended simply by having him/her sent to the judicial system for trial. At that point, the judge arbitrarily decides whether to set the person free or not. This court process is by itself a horrifying and tormenting process, with the accused transgendered persons forced to endure the judges' and officers' often sexist, brutal and demoralizing words and deeds.


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