It’s easy to associate Iran with nuclear weapons, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pretending all of zero gay people live there (then backtracking and insisting only that they aren’t executed), and “Persia.” But here’s something that might surprise you: It’s also home to government-sanctioned sex change operations. Yes, Iran, a Muslim country of 70 million people led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and infamous for its treatment of women and gays (so bad that some flee the country to seek asylum elsewhere), appears to have little problem nip-tucking its citizens from boys to girls and vice versa. There, identifying as trans is viewed as an illness with a cure. Is this a society that actually believes transgendered men and women are all god’s creatures?
That’s one of many things we learned watching the documentary Transsexual in Iran (or Tanaz Eshaghian), which was recently uploaded in full to YouTube. If you watch all eight parts, you’ll have to give up a full 60 minutes of your day. And it’ll be worth it.
One thing we’re left questioning, though, is how often gay men and women — who might be a little too feminine or masculine for their prescribed gender — are pressured into a sex change to fit in, since their same-sex attractions are sacrilegious.