Transexuality in Iran: Accepted?

The video play list was very interesting to me in many different respects.  First of all, I found it intriguing how transexuality is more accepted than homosexuality when in the United States it is almost the opposite.  Here, it seems that transgenderism is seen as less acceptable than homosexuality.  We were just talking in class last week how trans issues and rights are one step lower than gay rights as if it is only important after gay rights is “accomplished.”  However, in Iran it seems that as long as you are transsexual, society can account for your behavior because you are now deemed “mentally ill;” however, homosexuality is still so taboo that it can be punishable by death.  What is even more interesting is that religion is used to justify this.  Religion playing a role in government is nothing new especially when it comes to homosexuality.  However, because transpeople are not specifically written about in the Quran, it is not deemed as “sinful” as being gay.  This reminds me of the arguments against trans people in the United States.  The argument, in religious terms, is that God does not make mistakes (assuming the gender dichotomy is even the Truth with a capital T).  It just shows how different cultures can have very different viewpoints on some of the same issues using the same basis for their reasoning. 

The next thing that I found interesting is that the only way to be homosexual and not punished is through being “diagnosed” as trans and undergo sex reassignment surgery.  What I am wondering is how this is affecting the actual mental health of the homosexual population in Iran.  Is this not causing more psychological harm by forcing someone to change their gender?  In my mind, it is the same as not allowing a trans person to change their body to match themselves.  Living in a culture where sex reassignment has so much taboo, it is weird for me to see a culture where SRS is preferred over homosexuality.  Also, in the videos I felt as though they were trying to show how much freedom that trans people had in Iran because they were at the very least legal and could receive a sex change.  I think this is ridiculous.  Trans people do not have any more rights in Iran than they do here.  In the first and second video, the interviewees recited the same story that is required to jump through that medical hoop in America.  The normative trans person still had to feel that way from birth and have contemplated suicide.  It does not allow for any more fluidity in gender transition than we do here in America.  In fact, they seem to have even more hoops to jump through since it was stated that they have to also get a signed waiver from their religious leader.  I do not agree with how Iran is painted as a more tolerant place for transgendered people.  If anything, they are only more tolerant in relation to their very extreme policies for homosexuality.

Nicole Amodeo

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