“War on Bodies and Minds”: Criminal Laws of the Islamic Republic Concerning the LGBT+ Community

The Islamic Penal Code in Iran criminalises various forms of same-sex relations with punishments ranging from flogging to execution (Articles 233 to 240), even for individuals under 18 years old due to the legal responsibility age in Iran being 9 for girls and 15 for boys (Article 147).

Men engaging in anal intercourse with the same gender (sodomy involving penetration) face different penalties depending on whether the sexual partner is an “active” or “passive” participant, Muslim or non-Muslim, and whether their behaviour is characterised as consensual or non-consensual (Article 234). If the act is deemed consensual, the “passive” partner could face execution, while the “active” partner faces execution only if married or non-Muslim and if the “passive” partner is Muslim.

“Lesbianism” (Articles 238 and 136) can also incur the death penalty. The punishment for these acts are 100 lashes for the first three convictions and execution for the fourth.

Authorities of the Islamic Republic prohibit individuals from freely defining and expressing their gender identity. Individuals must possess a certificate diagnosing “gender identity disorder” before expressing their gender identity through clothing, hairstyles, or behaviour if it deviates from the behaviours and appearances associated with their assigned gender.  Those diagnosed with “gender identity disorder”  are often subjected to irreversible medical procedures such as hormone replacement therapy and sterilisation.

“War on bodies and minds ” is an investigative report by 6rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network) based on in-depth interviews with 70 LGBT+ protests. It sheds light on crimes, persecution, and harassment based on gender identity  against LGBT+ protesters during the 2022 revolutionary uprising in Iran.