Here, women wear so much makeup only because it’s the only thing they can control,” Shadi says.
According to Nousha’s observations, however, that’s a good sign. Our generation is more rebellious and we’re changing the attitudes.
Recently, Iranian women have further pushed boundaries by removing it while driving, while movements like My Stealthy Freedom encourage female tourists to post pictures of themselves sans hijab, as an act of solidarity.
The Guardian notes that, according to reports, Iran now performs more reassignment surgeries than any other country save Thailand.
This, however, can also reflect Iran’s intolerance of transgender; the law may force sex reassignment surgery on trans people who’d prefer to keep their birth-assigned sex.
Besides the bluish light illuminating the stage, all is dark. Underscoring my misconceptions of Iran, Nousha clarifies that, in Tehran, casual sex is doable.
Sex outside marriage is outlawed in Iran (and adultery a capital offence).
“You just have to know when and how long your parents will be out,” Nousha says.
Back inside, the gig’s highlight band, The Finches, walks onstage to fervent applause.
“I know it has religious origins and women are forced to wear it, but I don’t hate it. It can be really feminine.” Hijabs are compulsory in Iran, except when the woman is in the private company of her husband and immediate male relatives.
However, particularly in Tehran, some women push it halfway back on their head for maximum hair exposure.
Post-gig, I ask Nousha: “So, do you have a boyfriend? “I have a girlfriend.” Aware of the sociocultural, religious and political challenges faced by the LBGTIQ community in Muslim countries, I engage Nousha weeks later in a Whatsapp interview to discuss the situation for queer Iranians.
“It’s really fucked up because citizens in Iran have zero freedom of speech.
After the divorce, “I told them it was their fault – they were the ones who’d insisted on me getting a legal relationship as soon as possible,” Shadi says.