One of the many astonishing paradoxes about life in the Islamic republic is that transsexuality has been legal since a fatwa was issued in 1987 by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Indeed, Iran permits more sex-change operations than any other country, except Thailand, and has long subsidised such surgeries. But, though transsexuals may have the support of the government, they remains highly controversial figures among the public.-Guardian
Des Buford, Director of Exhibition & Programming at Frameline, spoke with FACING MIRRORS director Negar Azarbayjani and producer Fereshteh Taerpour. (6/18/2012)
Directed By:Negar Azarbayjani
Produced by: Fereshteh Taerpour
Starring:Shayesteh Irani – Ghazal Shakeri – Homayoun Ershadi – Nima Shahrokh Shahi – Maryam Boubani – Saber Abar – Hengameh Ghazian
The religious ruling (allowing SRS) was issued thanks to the activities in the 1980s of Maryam Khatoon Molkara, a campaigner for the rights of transsexuals in Iran, who wrote to Khomeini asking him to determine their fate. Molkara had herself previously been a man, and worked for the state TV before the Islamic revolution in 1979. In the mid-70s, she started to write to Khomeini, who was in exile, asking for religious authorisation for a sex-change operation. In 1987, after a decade of campaigning, she went in person to the home of Khomeini, by then the country’s supreme leader, and came back with a fatwa in hand that allowed transsexuals to choose their sex. More at The Guardian
A few years ago while Iran was still accessible via the Internet I became engrossed with the human struggle inside the country. Sadly after the Green Revolution began the goverment responded to closing the electronic border effectively isolating Iran from the world. This movie is a watershed for transgender people as it gives us a look behind this Islamic curtain.