Chapter 4 shows how males presenting as women were relatively accepted in certain walks of life before the revolution. After the revolution, however, they were stigmatized as homosexuals and as violators of new regulations against gender dressing.
Ayatollah Khomeini had long held the view that sex change was permissible under Islamic law. Chapter 5 shows how, in the decades that followed the revolution, Iranian legal, biomedical, psychiatric, and clerical authorities worked out procedures and financial and social support for the diagnosis and treatment of trans persons.
Not only the state supported this initiative. Chapter 6 explains that trans activists themselves had challenged social and cultural norms and had contributed to changing state policies. The author emphasizes that the Iranian state is not static and monolithic; it is continually changing and reformulating itself like any other state formation.
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Chapter 7 builds on case studies of clients at a clinic in Tehran. The author is aware that her research questions reflected the legal and dominant understandings of sexuality in Iran. They were not however the dominant understandings of the persons she interviewed.
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Her case studies enable the reader to understand how trans lives are lived in difficult circumstances. Sometimes, the struggle to decide if one is homosexual or trans results in a zone of undecidedness that makes a satisfactory life impossible. Chapter 8 concludes the book by asking if it is really necessary to ask if a person identifies as trans or lesbian, or gay or straight or something else.
Identities could shift depending on circumstances, according to where one lived or worked, or according to the needs of families, spouses, and partners.
Duke University Press - Professing Selves
Self-knowledge is a complex topic in contemporary Iran with roots in Islamic philosophical thought, Sufism, and modern psychology. The opposite does not happen, the author suggests, because non-normative sex is received far more badly for adolescent males than it is for adolescent females.
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The author concludes this well researched and important book by arguing for an alternative space where loving lives can be successfully lived. Identities would not have to be self-defined as trans or homo. Why not an ambiguous identity without categories imposed by modern science, medicine, religion, state, and society?
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ISBN 13: 9780822355434
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