The most interesting thing about the sources for this week was that they pointed out that no one has it figured out. The people of America see themselves as superior to the world and yet the most normative of gay people (i.e. Matthew Shepard) are still being killed and the trans* population is still considered abominations. In Iran, transgender/sexual individuals are better off, but confirmed homosexuals are put to death immediately (or almost immediately, if you’re a woman). It turns out America is not much better than the rest of the world. Just as the Defense of Marriage Act is coming into question in America, trans* individuals are being recognized by the Iranian government as mentally stable individuals. Now trans* individuals are recognized as what they truly are: people with glandular disorders? Well at least America is ahead of the curve with their new policies… to legalize gay marriage?
I think the Young Turks say it best with their words on both trans* and gay clashes with different governments. The mockery of the way Iranian laws ‘favor’ lesbians over gay men because lesbians are presumably the more attractive target of male fantasies. The mockery of trans women through terms like “trannys” and “chicks with the kibbles and bits,” all of this, of course, in an incredibly offensive stereotypical (fake) Iranian accent. The disregard for both groups of people is horrid and demeans them to less than human and illegitimatizes struggles that they are facing daily that threaten their livelihoods and, sometimes, their lives. At one point I literally yelled at my computer screen, “People are dying. Stop laughing!” How long will people assume that discrimination is a non-issue just because it is not happening to them?
That is just covering the ignorant discrimination that is found in modern privileged audiences of these human rights campaigns in America and Iran. The Iranian government grants trans* individuals legitimacy and kills homosexuals. That is going to immediately cause an influx of homosexual individuals into the operation room with the idea that they are going to be able to finally love who they have always loved without discrimination. While transitioning is a convenient loophole for the homosexual population in Iran, it will also create a lot of people with self-induced gender dysphoria in their attempt to conform to the heterosexual norm that is so heavily enforced in Iranian law.
During the most recent Pride Film Festival, they showed a film about the life of a trans man living in Iran whose father was attempting to marry him to a man so he would be incapable of leaving Iran and completing his transition in Germany. When Eddie was explaining his gender identity and its dissonance with his physical sex, he defines what it means to be trans and why he has to transition. It was translated (and paraphrased here by my vague memory) as something like, “I’m transitioning to change my sexuality.” Initially this made me shudder like the knowledgeable person that I am on the difference between gender identity and sexuality.
After reading these articles and watching the clips on Youtube, I realized the reality of that line in the context of Iranian politics. Eddie was attracted to women while also identifying as a man. However, the government’s main concern is that he cannot be a woman attracted to other women. The shift in gender was reasoned through the idea that Eddie’s sexuality was incorrect. If he had been attracted to men, he would have probably chosen to present as female in order to keep his inclinations heterosexual. In Eddie’s world, the thing that keeps homosexual and transgender people alive is their ability to fit inside the heterosexual matrix.
#no one deserves to be fit in a box… even if it has a picture of you on it.
Trailer for Facing Mirrors: