Iran may have high LGBT+ population

A recently issued document made through Iran’s parliamentary research department states, ‘Illicit unions are not just between girls and boys; 17% of the 142,000 students who were surveyed said that they were homosexual.’ – The Economist

Thus meaning, because of this high percent, Iran’s population could possibly contain a much higher percentage of gay individuals than the American population.

This finding would counter the comment made back in 2007 by Iran’s then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to an audience at Columbia University, ‘In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.’

In the report, the Economist noted a recommendation for combatting these illicit sex figures: temporary marriages. The report states:

Their suggestion for stopping unsanctioned sex is remarkably liberal. Instead of seeking to cool the loins of the youngsters altogether, they should be allowed publicly to register their union by using sigheh, an ancient practice in Shia Islam that lets people marry temporarily. A legal but loose and much-deprecated arrangement, which can last from a few hours to decades, sigheh is often viewed as a cover for promiscuity or prostitution. Clerics themselves have long been suspected of being among its biggest beneficiaries, sometimes when they are on extended holy retreats in ancient religious cities such as Qom.

For less conservative Iranians, some of whom even jokingly describe themselves as ‘not real Muslims, ‘the report is merely an admission of reality—and an amusing distraction from the austere topics usually occupying their leaders’ minds. ‘This is what every human body needs,’ says Zahra, a 32-year-old chemist who lives with her boyfriend in northern Tehran and declares that she has no intention of seeking authorisation to have sex. ‘I have one life and though I love my country, I cannot wait for its leaders to grow up,’ she adds. (2014)

Unsurprisingly, Iranian media has blatantly ignored the report; sex is too much of a hot topic to discuss in most official Iranian circles.