Iran admits it has gays after all, and lots of them
A new report reveals the extent of youth homosexuality, straight sex outside marriage and sex work in Iran – and has an interesting ‘solution’
Iran has admitted it actually does have gay people – and gay sex is widespread among its youth.
An 82-page report which has just come to light draws on figures compiled by the Iranian Ministry of Education in 2007 and 2008.
They show 17.5% of male and female high school students across Iran admit to ‘being homosexual’. That’s 24,889 of a survey of 141,552 young men and women even though homosexuality can be punished by death in the country.
Notably the statistics were being gathered around the same time as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of homosexuality in his country.
Speaking to Columbia University in 2007 he said, through a translator: ‘In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals.’ A spokesperson later claimed his remark was misunderstood.
And the report admits almost all Iranian high school students are breaking sexual laws. A massive 74% admit to having engaged in ‘heterosexual relations’. But sex outside marriage is considered to be adultery and illegal.
The report, titled Temporary Marriage and its Impact on Lowering Illegitimate Sexual Contacts, has now been published on the Iranian Parliament’s website.
Gay Star News was alerted to it by Hossein Alizadeh, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
He explained: ‘The report is authored by a clergy man (Hojjatol-Islam Bahram Shojai), and mainly focuses on the virtues of temporary marriage as a solution to end different forms of “sexual irregularities” within the Iranian society.
‘The statistics that are used for the report are often from official sources. Some of the numbers are both shocking and interesting: For example, the report cites the Ministry of Education’s study regarding sex work: “The average age of sex workers in Iran is now 15 years of age.”
‘Research by Shaheed Beheshti University shows “more sex workers are married, and 11% of them engage in sex work with their husband’s consent”. Out of 2,000 sex workers surveyed, 600 of them say their chose to become sex workers, while 1,400 say their were tricked into the business...
‘The author’s argument is that sex work, sex outside marriage, masturbation, and homosexuality are all the result of inability of the youth to engage in “proper sexual relations” (ie marriage), given the high cost of wedding and social expectations around marriage.
‘The author claims that temporary marriage, which is a low key form of marriage, can end most of these sexual ills.’
‘Temporary marriage’ is common among Shiite Muslims and allowed under Iranian law. It can last for just long enough to have sex to 99 years. But while it is religiously sanctioned, it is disapproved of by society.