Yesterday, human rights organisation Hengaw reported that a 20-year-old transgender woman going by the name Rebwar Ibrahimi, who lived in the disputed Kurdish city of Mariwan, Iran, had committed suicide after she was prevented from sex reassignment surgery.
According to the report, Rebwar’s family had visited a mullah to get advice on whether Rebwar’s transition was allowed in Islam, to which he said it was not. The report asserts that her family did not allow her to do the surgery after talking to the mullah, which made Rebwar depressed and isolated. Some of Rebwar’s close friends have confirmed this, according to Hengaw.
The news broke out shortly after trans woman Doski Azad’s murder by her brother, Chakdar Azad, in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan.
Transgender people in the region are one of the marginalised groups, alongside with intersex people, and other members of the LGBT+ community in general. While Sex Reassignment Surgery is technically allowed in Iran, social norms and religious beliefs have created transition difficulties for transgender people. Those who decide to fight the social stigma attached to transgender identities, are often advised to not identify themselves as transgender, and rather hide that fact from the general public.
Kojin, an influential and non-binary Internet personality told Yeksani: “Unfortunately, the situation for [the LGBT+ community], especially trans people, is very bad. Whenever I hear about the murder or suicide of [LGBT+ people], it saddens me to my core.”