LGBTQ in Iran

Key information

Virtual Event

About this event

This seminar is an introductory session with three Iranian academics providing an overview of their research into the Iranian LGBTQ community.

Iranian trans identities between pathology and resistance - Bahar Azadi

  • Neo-traditionalist Islam/progressive Islam and sex reassignment surgery: Khomeini’s Fatwa (1986)
  • Medico-legal institutional discourses of trans body
  • Iranian trans identities between pathology and resistance

Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality at the Crossroads on Iranian Screens - Shekoufeh Behbehani

  • Queer representation in Iranian cinema
  • The place of ethnicity, non-normative gender and sexuality within Persian-Shi’a nationalism in post-revolutionary Iran
  • The implications of Persian-Shi’a nationalism on the relationship between the protagonists and authority figures in recent films (i.e., Offside (2006), Cold Sweat (2018), etc.)

Mono-normativity in the Persian LGBT Communities - Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh

  • Invisibility of bisexual asylum seekers
  • Untellability of Persian bisexual narratives


About the speakers

Bahar Azadi is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Paris 1- Sorbonne. She received her doctorate in philosophy from University of Paris Descartes-Sorbonne. She is currently a part-time researcher in unit U1037 Inserm at the Faculty of Medicine Bichat, University of Paris 7. Her main area of interest is the subject of trans-identity, subjectivation and resistance. She dedicated her thesis to the subjectivation of trans-identity in Iranian society after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran. Her postdoctoral research is on female genital mutilation in France.

Shekoufeh Behbehani holds an M.A degree in comparative Literature from the university of Amsterdam and is currently part of Amsterdam school for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam, conducting her Ph.D. research, “(Un)screened Narratives: Non-normative Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Iran”. Her on-going research focuses on a recent corpus of films and performances that reveal the ambivalences within Iranian gender politics in relation to the regime of violence in the country. In light of these representations, she explores the extent to which Iran’s particular mapping of gender and sexuality both facilitates and constraints non-normativity and queerness.

Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh is undertaking a PhD in sociology on “Untellability of Persian bisexual narratives” at the university of Huddersfield in the UK. They authored the chapter “The untellable bisexual asylum stories” in “Bisexuality in Europe Sexual Citizenship, Romantic Relationships, and Bi+ Identities” (Routledge 2020). Zeynab has been a teaching assistant in an online Persian Master’s program in Iran Academia, the Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities based in the Netherland since 2015. They are also co-founder and board member of ‘Spectrum’, a feminist queer organisation based in France which publish online contents on gender and sexuality in Persian, since 2014.

Moderator: Roya Arab is a musician, archaeologist and curator of cultural events celebrating MENA heritage, with a focus on Iran.

Photo credit: Hadi Yazdi Aznaveh (Unsplash)


This webinar will take place online via Zoom.

The webinar will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those that are unable to participate via Zoom.

Organiser: SOAS Middle East Institute and Roya Arab

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