Dating rules in iran
The semi-structured interview provided more flexibility for the participants to explain and elaborate their answers, which helped the researcher to gather more information and better understand how the participants perceived and made sense of their coping strategies under an environment of systematic oppression.An example of an open-ended question included in the interview schedule is ‘What is a gay man’s life like in Iran?
The prospective participants who were in their twenties seemed to be more open about their sexuality and less cautious about disclosure and confidentiality and therefore more willing to participate in the study; one explanation for this is that the younger generation are less accepting of the authority’s religious and political views, while access to the internet and social media has provided them with the freedom to express their sexual identity more comfortably (see Mahdavi ).
However, a significant number of those who undergo the surgery do so not because they are transgender but because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual and see sex change surgery as the only option for them to “erase the ‘stain’ of homosexuality and become ‘legal’ under Iranian law” (Human Rights Watch ).
Unsurprisingly, not only does this approach fail to ‘cure’ the condition, but it also leads to increased depression, social anxiety, identity crises, self-harm, and suicide for those forced or coerced into such a dramatic action (Greene ).
The reasons why researchers have largely avoided studying sexual minorities and gender identity in Iran are attributed to certain conditions in the country, such as religious perspectives and laws, cultural biases, misunderstandings, a lack of local academic and scientific resources, and Western conspiracy theories (Yadegarfard and Bahramabadian ).
Therefore, the aim of this study is to use a qualitative approach to gain a more in-depth understanding of gay men living in Iran under systematic suppression.