It has been claimed

Barney Henderson at The Telegraph reports on an item about Iran’s women’s football team, in that typically passive, agent-free language that journalists use when they’re not sure, or want to obfuscate, what’s going on.

Eight of Iran’s women’s football team are actually men awaiting sex change operations, it has been claimed.

The country’s football association was accused of being “unethical” for knowingly fielding eight men in its women’s team.

“It has been claimed”; “was accused”; by whom? What are you talking about? If I were a newspaper editor I would make that against the rules. It could mean some drunk on the bus said it. It could mean anything. It’s crap journalism.

In the third paragraph he finally specifies an agent.

Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, told an Iranian news website: “[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations.”

We still don’t know what that means. An official of what? What kind of official? What is “the Iranian league”? We know what Iran is, but we don’t know what the reporter means by “the Iranian league.” What news website, and how reliable is it? What kind of news website? One like the Associated Press, say, or one like Breitbart?

Anyway. If the claim is true…what should we think? Should we think that’s a great thing for the rights of trans women? Or should we think it’s an underhanded way for Iran to pretend to allow women to play football without actually allowing women to play football?

Gender change operations are legal in Iran according to a fatwa – or religious ruling – pronounced by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The law contrasts with the strict rules governing sexual morality under the country’s Sharia legal code, which forbids homosexuality and pre-marital sex.

No it doesn’t, not really. Or it does if you look at it one way but not if you look at it another way. Allowing people to change gender is entirely compatible with forbidding homosexuality.

Football is highly popular among many Iranian women, despite religious rules that bar them from entering stadiums to watch matches between male teams.

Earlier this month the women’s national team captain was unable to fly with the squad to Malaysia because her husband refused her permission to fly.

Well just because she can play football doesn’t mean she can travel without a man’s permission. Get real.


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