In Iran, homosexuality is banned and punished by the law, yet transsexuality recognized under Islamic law. The reason for this is that the Koran states homosexuality is a “repugnant act”, therefore outlawing it among Islam people. In “Transgender Youth in Iran” a clerk in the video states that homosexuality will never be accepted in Islam because of the Koran, but because transsexuality is not recognized or called a sin in the Koran it is not banned. This realization has made sex change operations increased over the past decade or so. I find it comforting that transsexuals are accepted. But on the other hand, banning homosexuality is inhumane.
In another video, “Changing Sex to Escape Death: Homosexuals Dilemma in Iran” we discover that people are using sex change as a way to protect themselves from possible death. Since homosexuality is banned in Iran, certain people think that by getting a sex change they can escape prejudice and harm. But in reality, this scapegoat is extremely problematic. This completely ignores an entire sexual identity group and prevents homosexual people from obtaining civil rights. Also, undergoing a sex change does not protect you from discrimination. In the first mentioned video, youthful transsexuals struggled to find a way to express the way they felt and the problems they faced from society. But I can understand why people would think this option would be the easiest way. Sodomy could be punishable by death in Iran. So I can see why it is difficult for those who don’t know what to do.
After watching a few of these videos about transsexuality in Iran, I wanted to learn more about those who were homosexual in Iran. I watched a video called, “Being a Gay in Iran, how does it feel?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8-AlubASuM) where Ramtin and Ali tell us their own personal stories on what it is like to be a gay Iranian man. The video began by stating that hundreds of gay Iranian men flee to the UK to seek asylum. From there the two tell us how close they came to being executed for their sexuality. It was heartbreaking to hear that these men had to leave their own country to stay alive. Knowing that there are still nations that punish people for their sexual identity still shocks me. Yet, as I have learned in all my gender studies classes sexual identity is portrayed and viewed differently all around the world. And when religion gets involves, things get more complicated (even though church and state should be separated).
– Colleen Griffin