Iranian women’s football squad includes eight trans women, report claims

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Eight transgender women are part of Iran’s women’s football squad, according to reports.

Despite laws criminalising homosexuality, Iran has accepted the practice of gender reassignment for decades – and has a large transgender population.

However, the country has been accused of testing the limits of sporting codes – by including eight transgender women in its women’s football squad.

According to the Telegraph, the country’s football association has fielded a number of trans women who have not undergone gender surgery.

In the UK, most major sporting bodies now allow trans people to compete in their chosen gender category – but many require them to undergo rigorous tests, and there are few cases of trans athletes at the highest professional level.

The newspaper reports that an official close to the league, Mojtabi Sharifi, saod: “[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations.”

It also reports that authorities have ordered gender testing for all leading players, alongside the entire national squad. The names of the eight players were not revealed.

Despite the country’s ease with trans people, doctors in the country previously alleged that gay Iranians are forced to undergo gender reassignment to ‘fix’ their same-sex relationships,

Iran reportedly carries out more gender reassignment operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand, although the numbers cannot be independently verified.


It’s not official government policy to force gay men or women to undergo gender reassignment, but a report noted how “there is a risk that people involved in homosexual relationships who may not be transgender, are pressured into undergoing a sex-change operation in order to avoid being ‘illegal’.”