Monday, October 20, 2008

Interesting article on gender variance in Iran

A recent article from Cheraq -- the journal of the Iranian Queer Railroad (IRQR), formerly known as the Iranian Queer Organization -- features a detailed and quite interesting discussion of the surprising acceptance of gender transition in Iran. The author argues that while the acceptance of transsexualism by leading Iranian clerics has been lifesaving for many, the conflation of gender and sexuality in the prevailing Iranian theology has harmful implications for both trans and gay people living under Islamic rule:

Today, there is a certain celebratory tone about recognition of transsexuality and permissibility of sex-change perations within the Islamic Republic of Iran. ...Yet, behind these apparently progressive stories of gender recognition lies an emerging disturbing discourse on gender and sexual disorders and pathologies....
...This collapsing of gender and sexuality has distinct implications for transpersons and homosexuals. Transpersons are perceived of as being “homosexual” and are demonized and punished as such when in reality many of them might not even identify as homosexual; in turn homosexuals are tacitly pressured to seek hormonal and surgical sex/gender transformation when in reality many of them might not be genuinely transsexual.

I can't help noting that my own student Note -- Against the Surgical Requirement for Change of Legal Sex -- is cited repeatedly.


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