UPDATE: Big Fur Hat has "the hole story" here on why transgender ops are so popular in Iran.
Iranian-born filmmaker, Tanaz Eshaghian, who brought attention to
Iran’s transgender community in her award-winning 2008 documentary film,
“Be Like Others,” illustrates the logic behind the law. In one scene of the film,
a Muslim cleric explains how Islam supports sex-change surgery. “An
action is allowed unless it states specifically in the Quran that an act
is a sin. Why is adultery one of the seven deadly sins? Because it
specifically says so in the Quran. Because it does not specifically
state that sex change is a sin, therefore, we cannot call it a sin.”
Yet while the freedom to change sex might come as a relief to some,
Eshaghian also draws attention to the pressure felt by gay men and women
in Iran to have sexual reassignment surgeries as a means of
legitimizing their sexual orientation. As gay individuals, they are
committing a crime. As transsexuals, they can exist under Iranian law.
Ali Askar, a male-to-female who underwent surgery, told the BBC, “If I didn’t have to operate, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t touch God’s work.”
Gender theorist Afsaneh Najmabadi
adds: “For legal and medical authorities, sex change surgeries are
explicitly framed as the cure for a diseased abnormality, and on
occasion they are proposed as a religioegally sanctioned option for
heteronormalizing people with same-sex desires or practices.”
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