Iran rejects U.N. plea to stop abuse of LGBTI youths

By Jack Flanagan

Logo of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child
Logo of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child

Iran has rejected a series of proposals that the country stop abusing LGBTI youths.

The proposals, released Feb. 4 by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, were discussed during a January meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, between committee members and Iranian delegates.

According to 6rang, an Iranian lesbian and transgender network that attended  the meeting, the Iranian government responded to the U.N. proposals with “denial, and even at times mischaracterization of Iranian law.”

These included decriminalizing homosexuality — which is considered an illness in Iran — and creating new informational resources for LGBTI youths.

The committee also asked Iran to stop electroshock therapy, torture and other inhumane “treatments” for homosexuality, which are still practiced in Iran.

One committee member made a special point that Iran should stop coercing Iranian children into potentially life-threatening “cures” for being LGBTI.

Logo of 6Rang
Logo of 6Rang

During the meeting, 6rang reported that Iranian delegates met the proposals about the country’s treatment of LGBTI people with nothing but silence.

They later submitted a written response, but it contained statements that “were misleading, innuendos, missing facts, scattered truths and even explicit lies”, according to Shadi Amin, who represented the 6Rang network at the meeting.

In their response, the Iranian delegates indicated no interest in their country’s LGBTI population. In addition, the response assumed that bisexuality and intersex are the same thing.

Iranian delegates said that their country “sanctions treatment of ‘gender identity disorder’ [with] sex reassignment surgeries.”  In Iran, “gender identity disorder” can be applied either to gay or effeminate men or to masculine-appearing women.

Same-sex relations are punishable with imprisonment or death in Iran.

These are excerpts from the U.N. committee’s statement to the Iranian delegates:

  • [The committee] it is concerned that children who belong to the LGBTI group face continuous discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or identity and that the same sex sexual behaviour of adolescents above the actual age of criminal responsibility is criminalized and punished with penalties ranging from flogging to death penalty.
  • The Committee recommends that the State party decriminalize same-sex relations and take measures to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI children.
  • [The committee] is concerned at the reports that LGBTI children are subjected to electroshocks, hormones and strong psychoactive medications for the purpose of “curing” them.
  • The Committee urges the State party to ensure that LGBTI children are not subjected to cruel and degrading treatment such as electroshocks, hormones and strong psychoactive medications and that those responsible for these acts be held accountable.
  •   The Committee is also concerned that LGBTI children have no access to information about gender identity or sexual orientation and that transgender persons are forced to undergo surgical treatment.
  • It also urges the State party to take measures to provide LGBTI children with access to information on gender identity and sexual orientation. Furthermore, it urges the State party to put an end to  forcible surgical treatment of transgender persons.
  • The Committee is concerned about … Harassment, bullying and expulsion of LGBTI children from schools for failing to observe social expectations of femininity or masculinity.
  • The Committee recommends that the State party … Prohibit, prevent and punish harassment, bullying and expulsion of children who belong to LGBTI groups from schools.

Jack Flanagan is a writer from London, England, United Kingdom. He is a contributor to Gay Star News, Attitude, and the Advocate. He believes LGBTI rights are civil rights, and the responsibility of everyone. 


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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