Homosexuals in Iran are having sex reassignment surgery to avoid execution

According to reports within Iran, the country has around 4,000 sex reassignment surgeries every year, in an attempt to purge homosexuality from the Islamic Republic.

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna (photo credit: REUTERS/ LEONHARD FOEGER)
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna
Life for gay men in Iran continues to be a psychological nightmare. In the Islamic Republic, homosexuality is illegal and punishments usually range anywhere from torture to public executions.
The Iranian regime's treatment of transexuals, however, seems on the surface to be a different matter altogether..
Transsexuality was legalized in Iran in 1987 and the country has the second-highest number of sex reassignment surgeries (SRSs) per year, second only to Thailand.
However, in an interview with the British Sun newspaper, Iranian-born activist Shadi Amin claimed that the reason for this high number of SRSs in the country is not as accepting as it may seem on paper.
According to Amin, the Iranian government gives gay men the choice to go through the surgery in place of being tortured or executed.
Amin said that “they would rather carry out mass surgeries than executions because they know the world is watching them.”
In Iran, the regime believes that homosexuality is a disease that needs to be treated like any other, typically by physically changing a person’s sex.
“The government believes that if you are a gay man your soul is that of a woman and you should change your body.” Amin said.
“They think this is a way to fight the existence of homosexual people because you change their body and you solve the problem.”
According to various reports within Iran, there are about 4000 gender reassignment surgeries every year, though Amin believes the real numbers are even higher.
In the interview, she says that one doctor told her that he carries out 30 to 40 SRSs every month and up to three times per day, causing her to believe that this is a big business for some doctors, despite many of them not being specialists in the field, but rather repurposed plastic surgeons.
Following said surgery, the person if often shunned by both the country and their families, leaving them with no one to support them, which in turn often leads to a life of sex work and violence. 
Amin explains that while being trans isn't considered a crime in Iran, “there is nothing which criminalizes attacks against trans people" in the country either. "After the surgery, they have no rights anymore. There is no physiological support after the surgery.”
Peter Tatchell, a prominent British human rights campaigner told The Sun that the men that agree to go through the surgery do so just so they won’t be executed, rather than from a geniune desire to change.
"They don't want to be trans but fear being hanged if they don't transition.” He said. 
Tatchell also stated that ““Iran’s policy of encouraging gender reassignment has nothing to do with supporting trans people. It is motivated by a desire to eradicate homosexuality and enforce traditional male and female gender norms."