But we know that's not true.
According to Faraz Sanei, a Human Rights Watch researcher who wrote a December 2010 report on the LGBT community in Iran:
* The punishment for same-sex intercourse between two men in Iran is death and for sexual relations between two women is 100 lashes for the first three offenses, and the death penalty for the fourth offense. (A penal code getting rid of the death penalty for women was recently approved, but is not yet in effect.)
* Psychiatrists and psychologists, with the state's approval, have advised hundreds of LGBT Iranians to diagnose and "treat" their sexual "deviancy."
* Iran permits gender-reassignment surgeries and partly subsidizes them. But there have been many articles in the Iranian press that the financial assistance is insufficient.
Basically, Iran condemns same-sex relationships, but allows someone diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" or "gender identity disorder" to undergo surgery to become "legal" by changing his/her sex.
In Philly, one institution has recently generated some news with regard to gender-reassignment surgeries: the University of Pennsylvania.
In its Feb. 28 Almanac publication, Penn said that coverage for transgender benefits will be extended to include sexual-reassignment surgery under one specific health plan, effective July 1.
Students have had access to insurance coverage for sex-reassignment surgery since August 2010, but this is the first time such coverage has been extended to faculty and staff.