There is no reason why LGBTI travelers shouldn't visit Iran. There are no questions of sexuality on visa application forms Iran certainly has an LGBTI community, but it's one that, by necessity, is barely visible in general society. While Islamic law doesn't ban being gay, it in no way condones intercourse between two people of the same gender. Homosexual acts are illegal for both men and women - if caught, locals and foreigners alike could face corporal punishment.
However, Iran does recognize transgender individuals and permits sexual reassignment surgery. In fact, more sex change operations are carried out in Iran than any other country in the world except Thailand, with the government chipping in for half the cost and recognizing the changed sex on birth certificates. Certainly, LGBTI Travellers are extremely cautious of how 'out' they are, and it's advisable for gay and lesbian visitors to err on the side of caution and adopt a similar low profile. Arranging meetings with Iranian gays and lesbians is possible: dating apps such as Grindr and Scruff are not censored. It makes sense not to advertise that you're part of a same-sex couple. Most hoteliers won't ask, though you might find in some places discretion is the better part of valor when seeking a double bed.
The more you know, the easier it is to plan a healthy and safe trip. Keep these travel health basics in mind:
- Make an appointment with your doctor 6 weeks before your trip. This gives you plenty of time to get your shots and refill your prescriptions if needed.
- Find out about the health risks at your destination.
- If insect-borne diseases like dengue are a risk at your destination, pack insect repellent and learn how to prevent insect bites.
- Choose safe food and water. Food and water can be contaminated with pathogens that cause travelers diarrhea and other illnesses. Always wash your hands frequently and thoroughly before eating.
- Remember that the golden rule for food is: boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!
- Pack adequate medicine or necessary healthy tools.
- Stay safe as an LGBTQ traveler Find out about cultural attitudes towards LGBTQ people at your destination, which may be different from what you are used to.
- Research your destination and talk to other LGBTQ travelers and locals to learn more about their experiences.
Some countries also have laws that put LGBTQ people at risk. Anti-LGBTQ laws often use vague terms like “immorality” or “indecency.”
As a result, LGBTQ people can be targeted for many different reasons
including their appearance, public displays of affection, expression of support for the LGBTQ community, or communication about
gay dating apps. Penalties for violating these laws can include imprisonment or even the death penalty. It's definitely
It is possible to travel to countries with anti-LGBTQ laws, but to stay safe, you must first know the local laws and how they are enforced.
As this is focused on health and medical care, I will speak primarily to trans people who are in medical transition.
First, consider everything you'll need for the duration of your trip - hormones, packers, binders, gel inserts, etc. and count the amount needed in order to bring more than enough with you. Then separate what you can get on your trip or not. This requires research.
Is there a place where you can get free or cheap clean syringes at the rate you will need them for the duration of your trip? Do you really need to bring lots of alcohol wipes or can you just buy them somewhere else? And will you either need to bring a cooler to keep the liquid hormones in the fridge, or have access to them for the duration of your trip?
If you can't take everything with you, check local laws and see what you need to bring to possibly get gender-specific medical care abroad. Do you need a note from your doctor or psychiatrist?
The FCO offers the following advice for LGBT travelers abroad:
- Avoid potentially dangerous situations - don't do anything you wouldn't do at home.
-Excessive physical displays of affection, by both homosexual and heterosexual couples, are often best avoided in public.
- If you intend to visit cruising areas or use a dating app, find out about the local situation and take reasonable precautions if you meet someone; the police are known to carry out entrapment campaigns.
- Beware of new 'friends' - criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the gay scene.
- If you receive unwelcome attention or remarks, it's usually best to ignore them.
- You are more likely to encounter difficulties in rural areas, so it is best to exercise discretion.
- Some resorts can be quite segregated - when you are outside the 'gay neighborhood' expressions of sexuality may be frowned upon in some hotels, especially in rural areas, which will not accept bookings from same-sex couples - check before you go.