Recent scholarly research on the Iranian transsexual raises significant issues about the position of Islam toward members of the transsexual community and about the challenges facing sexual lifestyles that are aberrant to heteronormative behavior in Iran. In 1967, the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini published a fatwa declaring that there is no religious restriction on sex reassignment surgery for hermaphrodites. In 1985, he issued an appendage to this fatwa to include transsexuals suffering from gender dysphoria. This reissuance impelled the process that culminated in new state-sanctioned medico-legal procedures regarding transsexuality as it has shifted from a method of reconciling one’s gender dysphoria to a medical, legal, and religious policing of sexuality. This paper examines the evolution of Khomeini’s original fatwa to argue that the Iranian ulama are manipulating Khomeini’s fatwa and using it as a medicalization device to enforce sexually normative behavior and shape sexual desires through state-sanctioned and governmentally implemented surgery.
Research Article|July 01 2014
Farrah Jafari; Transsexuality under Surveillance in Iran: Clerical Control of Khomeini’s Fatwas. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 July 2014; 10 (2): 31–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/jmiddeastwomstud.10.2.31
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