One would not normally think of Iran as a leader in trans-gendered progressive ideology, but when officials began poking around beneath the Islamic head scarves and long-sleeved jerseys worn by players on the Iranian women’s soccer team, they were surprised to discover that most of the players were – to use the hetero-normative language of the obsolete patriarchy – men.
An official close to the Iranian league announced last week that eight men have been “playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations.”
This discovery prompted accusations of unethical conduct against the Iranian league, which “reportedly ordered gender testing of the entire national squad and leading league players,” according to the UK Telegraph.
“The names of the players thought to be male were not revealed,” the Telegraph adds.
It is not the first time men have been caught playing for the Iranian womens’ team. In 2014, four men were discovered on the squad, while the Telegraph dryly observes that “in 2010, doubts were raised about the gender of the team’s goalkeeper.”
As the report notes, sex-change operations are legal in Iran, thanks to a fatwa from the late Ayatollah Khomeini. However, women are not allowed to enter stadiums to watch soccer games between male teams, and recently the Iranian women’s team had to make do without its captain because her husband refused to grant her permission to travel with the squad to Malaysia.