Hey kittens, for ThrowBack Thursday, we’re checking out a piece that originally went up in 2011. Enjoy!
Although homosexual relationships are illegal and punishable by death in Iran, sex reassignment operations are permitted. In 1983, Ayatollah Khomeini passed a fatwa allowing sex-change operations as a cure for “diagnosed transsexuals”. This documentary, known as both Be Like Others and Transsexuals in Iran, shows the experiences of male and female patients at Dr. Bahram Mir-Jalali’s Mirdamad Surgical Centre, a sex-reassignment clinic in Tehran.
Many of the patients have experiences that are similar to the trans people in America, but the stakes are possibly even higher: threats of being disowned are minor compared to real death threats. Others have entirely unique stories: one of the individuals profiled is Ali Askar, a 24 year-old man who faces harassment from other men due to his feminine appearance and behaviour. He does not want to become a woman but sees no other options for him as a gay man in Iranian society.
The stories are not all sad, though, there are some delightful outcomes for people who find happiness in their new lives and opportunities for love.