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Iran’s reality undermines Ahmadinejad’s homosexuality claims

You've probably heard by now that at Columbia University on Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed there were no homosexuals in his country. Like a lot of the claims he made, it was untrue. According to official estimates, there are between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals in the country. Iran ranks second only to Thailand in ...

You've probably heard by now that at Columbia University on Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed there were no homosexuals in his country. Like a lot of the claims he made, it was untrue. According to official estimates, there are between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals in the country. Iran ranks second only to Thailand in the number of sex-change operations performed. The government even gives grants to those seeking a sex-change operation.

In a country that shuns homosexuality, this makes perverse sense, as after a sex-change operation, one technically isn't attracted to one's own sex and therefore isn't gay. Maryam Khatoon Molkara, head of the country's main transsexual advocacy group, said sex changes are the only way for gay people to live normal lives in Iran. She told the Guardian:

Transsexuality is a real disaster. It's a one-way street. But if somebody wants to study, have a future and live like others they should go through this surgery.

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