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Iran's sex-change operations


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#1 MR IS

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 08:44 AM

Iran's sex change operations

By Frances Harrison
The BBC's Tehran correspondent



Clerics can study transsexuality but not homosexuality which is illegal in Iran

In a country that has outlawed homosexuality, Frances Harrison meets one Iranian cleric who says the right to a sex change is a human right.

For 20 years Mahyar has been a woman trapped in a man's body.

As a small child Mahyar liked dressing up in women's clothes and experimenting with make-up but as she grew older it got more difficult. "I badly needed to do it but it had to be in secret," she says.

Now she wants to have a sex-change operation - if she can muster the £2,000 it will cost in Iran. If her family doesn't help financially, she says she might sell one of her kidneys to pay for it.

"People say you'll get other illnesses but I think I can live without one kidney. I cannot live between the sky and the earth," says Mahyar.

Locked-up

Surgeons have already removed Mahyar's testicles. After the operation, her older brother locked her up for a week and wouldn't let her use the telephone. Mahyar's brother says someone has put a spell on her.

When Mahyar wants to feel normal she goes to the clinic of Dr Mirjalali - Iran's leading sex-change surgeon. There are women who were men, men who were women and those like Mahyar waiting for the operation they believe will be a sort of rebirth.


Dr Mirjalali discusses the operation with Mayhar
Dr Mirjalali says in Europe a surgeon would do about 40 sex change operations in a decade. He's done 320 in the last 12 years in Iran.

"If you saw them out in the street you wouldn't realise that one day they were the opposite sex," he boasts.

The doctor will use parts of Mahyar's intestines to create female sex organs. He warns it involves five or six hours of difficult surgery and weeks of painful recuperation.

Mahyar loves to go to cosmetics shops - and try out new nail varnish for her long manicured nails and discuss with the amused female shop assistants the best sort of foundation cream to hide her stubbly chin.

I want to suggest that the right of transsexuals to change their gender is a human right

Hojatulislam Kariminia
Cleric
The sight of a man wearing make up does turn heads on the street. Islamic tradition does not allow cross dressing - a man should only dress in male clothes. But that is not to say Iran's religious scholars are antagonistic to transsexuals.

Hojatulislam Kariminia wrote his doctoral thesis on the implications of sex-change operations for Islamic law.

He is a leading expert on questions like does a husband or wife need the permission of their spouse before a sex change operation? Is their marriage automatically annulled afterwards and what happens to the wife's dowry money or inheritance if she becomes a man.

Ayatollah Khomeini

He shows me the book in Arabic in which, 41 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini wrote about new medical issues like transsexuality.

"I believe he was the first Islamic scientist in the world of Islam who raised the issue of sex change," says Hojatulislam Kariminia.

The Ayatollah's ruling that sex-change operations were allowed has been reconfirmed by Iran's current spiritual leader.

That has meant that clerics like Hojatulislam Kariminia can study transsexuality - unlike homosexuality which is completely forbidden in Islam and illegal in Iran.

"I want to suggest that the right of transsexuals to change their gender is a human right," says the cleric, who is so fascinated by the subject that he says he dreams about the transsexuals he has studied at night.

"I am trying to introduce transsexuals to the people through my work and in fact remove the stigma or the insults that sometimes attach to these people," says Hojatulislam Kariminia.


Iranian society is not as accepting of transsexuals as the country's religious leaders
That's not easy. In every way Alan looks like a man but he was born Alim - with a woman's body. Three years ago he had a sex-change operation.

"I don't remember who Alim was - what she used to do, what kind of personality she had," says Alan. The past is something he'd prefer to forget.

Alan was about to get married when the parents of his bride found out he had been born a woman. They were horrified and refused to allow their daughter to marry what they considered another woman.

Iranian society has yet to catch up with its religious leaders - who say transsexuality is an illness like any other for which Islam has the solution and science the cure.

Alan shows me his new birth certificate and passport, which has been legally changed to say he is now a man. He's surprised to learn in Britain a transsexual who's had a sex change operation cannot change his or her gender on their birth certificate.

"I think in Iran it is better; in Iran they say you need to know your identity - either you have to be a boy or a girl," says Alan.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frances Harrison's film will be screened on Thursday, 6 January, 2005.

Newsnight is broadcast on BBC Two at 1030pm every weeknight in the UK.


You can also watch the show from Newsnight's website, either live or on demand for 24 hours after originally broadcast, by clicking on the Watch Newsnight button

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#2 Dhulfiqar

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 09:32 AM

Eunichs?

#3 Hajar

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 10:02 AM

Salaam alaikum,

We have had discussions on this topic before. Do a search on transexual and you will find several fatwas from different marjas.

WaSalaam, Hajar

PS: We have two topics today with this subject. I am merging them.

Edited by Hajar, 06 January 2005 - 07:29 PM.


#4 Ali Mahdi

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 10:29 AM

(salam)
(bismillah)

That's gross... even if it is allowed by our maraja'. :sick:

Khoda Hafez va Eltemas-e Dua!
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#5 Bani Hashim

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 10:43 AM

Disgusting Walla

#6 Ali Mahdi

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 11:04 AM

(salam)
(bismillah)

Here also: http://www.shiachat....91

Very disgusting... reminds me of episodes of "Maury" or "Jerry Springer"! :sick:

Khoda Hafez va Eltemas-e Dua Barayeh Faraj!
Ali @)

#7 Assassin

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 11:39 AM

I don't want to sound like I'm discriminating, but I really can't see how Islam would allow people to change their sex.

#8 Hyder Zaidi

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 12:01 PM

(salam)
Man .... or Women :wacko: ... dunno who :cry: ... :!!!: .. this is very disgusting . Ewwwwwww :cry:

wassalam

#9 Bollywood_Hero

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 12:03 PM

I don't want to sound like I'm discriminating, but I really can't see how Islam would allow people to change their sex.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


what about hamaphrodites...they sometimes have to

#10 Ojum

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 12:09 PM

what about hamaphrodites...they sometimes have to

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Now in the case of a hamaphrodie then I can understand 100% but for people doing it so they can indulge in homosexual acts then I think that is disguisting and deceitful. Just my opinion and I am nobody so *shrugs*

#11 MustafaAlSadr

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 01:20 PM

Iran's sex-change operations

By Frances Harrison
The BBC's Tehran correspondent



Clerics can study transsexuality but not homosexuality which is illegal in Iran

In a country that has outlawed homosexuality, Frances Harrison meets one Iranian cleric who says the right to a sex change is a human right.

For 20 years Mahyar has been a woman trapped in a man's body.

As a small child Mahyar liked dressing up in women's clothes and experimenting with make-up but as she grew older it got more difficult. "I badly needed to do it but it had to be in secret," she says.

Now she wants to have a sex-change operation - if she can muster the £2,000 it will cost in Iran. If her family doesn't help financially, she says she might sell one of her kidneys to pay for it.

"People say you'll get other illnesses but I think I can live without one kidney. I cannot live between the sky and the earth," says Mahyar.

Locked-up

Surgeons have already removed Mahyar's testicles. After the operation, her older brother locked her up for a week and wouldn't let her use the telephone. Mahyar's brother says someone has put a spell on her.

When Mahyar wants to feel normal she goes to the clinic of Dr Mirjalali - Iran's leading sex-change surgeon. There are women who were men, men who were women and those like Mahyar waiting for the operation they believe will be a sort of rebirth.


Dr Mirjalali discusses the operation with Mayhar
Dr Mirjalali says in Europe a surgeon would do about 40 sex change operations in a decade. He's done 320 in the last 12 years in Iran.

"If you saw them out in the street you wouldn't realise that one day they were the opposite sex," he boasts.

The doctor will use parts of Mahyar's intestines to create female sex organs. He warns it involves five or six hours of difficult surgery and weeks of painful recuperation.

Mahyar loves to go to cosmetics shops - and try out new nail varnish for her long manicured nails and discuss with the amused female shop assistants the best sort of foundation cream to hide her stubbly chin.

I want to suggest that the right of transsexuals to change their gender is a human right

Hojatulislam Kariminia
Cleric
The sight of a man wearing make-up does turn heads on the street. Islamic tradition does not allow cross dressing - a man should only dress in male clothes. But that is not to say Iran's religious scholars are antagonistic to transsexuals.

Hojatulislam Kariminia wrote his doctoral thesis on the implications of sex-change operations for Islamic law.

He is a leading expert on questions like does a husband or wife need the permission of their spouse before a sex change operation? Is their marriage automatically annulled afterwards and what happens to the wife's dowry money or inheritance if she becomes a man.

Ayatollah Khomeini

He shows me the book in Arabic in which, 41 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini wrote about new medical issues like transsexuality.

"I believe he was the first Islamic scientist in the world of Islam who raised the issue of sex change," says Hojatulislam Kariminia.

The Ayatollah's ruling that sex-change operations were allowed has been reconfirmed by Iran's current spiritual leader.

That has meant that clerics like Hojatulislam Kariminia can study transsexuality - unlike homosexuality which is completely forbidden in Islam and illegal in Iran.

"I want to suggest that the right of transsexuals to change their gender is a human right," says the cleric, who is so fascinated by the subject that he says he dreams about the transsexuals he has studied at night.

"I am trying to introduce transsexuals to the people through my work and in fact remove the stigma or the insults that sometimes attach to these people," says Hojatulislam Kariminia.


Iranian society is not as accepting of transsexuals as the country's religious leaders
That's not easy. In every way Alan looks like a man but he was born Alim - with a woman's body. Three years ago he had a sex-change operation.

"I don't remember who Alim was - what she used to do, what kind of personality she had," says Alan. The past is something he'd prefer to forget.

Alan was about to get married when the parents of his bride found out he had been born a woman. They were horrified and refused to allow their daughter to marry what they considered another woman.

Iranian society has yet to catch up with its religious leaders - who say transsexuality is an illness like any other for which Islam has the solution and science the cure.

Alan shows me his new birth certificate and passport, which has been legally changed to say he is now a man. He's surprised to learn in Britain a transsexual who's had a sex change operation cannot change his or her gender on their birth certificate.

"I think in Iran it is better; in Iran they say you need to know your identity - either you have to be a boy or a girl," says Alan.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 comes into force in the UK in from April 2005. Under the provisions of the Act a transsexual person can apply to be legally recognised in their acquired gender.

Click here to visit the Dept for Constitutional Affairs website for more information about the Gender Recognition Act


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frances Harrison's film will be screened on Thursday, 6 January, 2005.

Newsnight is broadcast on BBC Two at 1030pm every weeknight in the UK.


You can also watch the show from Newsnight's website, either live or on demand for 24 hours after originally broadcast, by clicking on the Watch Newsnight button

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#12 Dawah_Group

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 03:36 PM

Very Disgusting and un-Islamic.

#13 Assassin

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 05:15 PM

what about hamaphrodites...they sometimes have to

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I wasn't referring to hermaphrodites.

#14 Assassin

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 05:23 PM

I don't think you should be so quick to judge it. I don't agree with it but I don't know that much about it anyway, I just assumed it wouldn't be allowed in Islam anyway. We should at least listen to what Ayatollah Khomeini exactly said. I think someone posted it... although I still don't agree with it. If we can all start changing such a fundamental thing about ourselves it can't be good for society, especially since the men who want to change into women seem to be basing their desire for a sex-change on the fact that they liked playing with make-up and dresses when they were kids, so it's all because of social stereotypes which needn't even be in force anyway.

Another point. Like men don't control everything in the world, abusing and oppressing women for centuries (and don't bother saying Allah controls everything, I know that, and you know what I mean so don't be pedantic), they still aren't happy with that, they have to be able to BE women! It makes me so angry! :mad:

#15 ya rahman

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 05:32 PM

(salam)
(bismillah)

That's gross... even if it is allowed by our maraja'.  :sick:

Khoda Hafez va Eltemas-e Dua!
Ali  @)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


(salam)

Bro, I used to think like that until I did some psychology units at uni. Thing is gender is not as simple as man and woman. 1 in 100 births, there is some confusion in gender, because of hormone imbalances and stuff. There are even cases of children having the appearance of girls, but were really boys and at puberty the drive in hormones causes the appearance of male organs. So some people may just be born that way....they literally feel the opposite gender. Its psychological and many times has its basis in science so I literally applaud the scholars for having the insight even from 40 years back to understand this issue.

#16 Assassin

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 05:54 PM

I literally applaud the scholars for having the insight even from 40 years back to understand this issue.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yeah, whether I agree with the rulings or not, I think it's commendable that they addressed the issue.

#17 Peer

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 06:34 PM

what about hamaphrodites...they sometimes have to

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


From what I can recall (from threads posted here):

Sayyid Khoei (qas) considered it lawful for hermaphrodites to undergo a sex-change operation, but it isn't allowed for gays/lesbians.

Sayyid Khamenei' considers it lawful even for normal males/females (this is just what I could recall, so need to verify it.)

Edited by Peer, 06 January 2005 - 06:59 PM.


#18 Ojum

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 06:57 PM

There's another thread on this so I'll just post what i posted here too:

I used to think like that until I did some psychology units at uni. Thing is gender is not as simple as man and woman. 1 in 100 births, there is some confusion in gender, because of hormone imbalances and stuff. There are even cases of children having the appearance of girls, but were really boys and at puberty the drive in hormones causes the appearance of male organs. So some people may just be born that way....they literally feel the opposite gender. Its psychological and many times has its basis in science so I literally applaud the scholars for having the insight even from 40 years back to understand this issue.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My wife has a masters in psychology. Those things you have spoken about are all THEORIES and not facts at all. Theories that not all psychologies agree with I might add. Psychology like every other western science is extremely flawd.

#19 Hasnain

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 07:01 PM

Hmmm? Dang.. Wow.

#20 Hajar

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 07:26 PM

Sayyid Khamenei' considers it lawful even for normal males/females (this is just what I could recall, so need to verify it.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Salaam alaikum,

No he doesn't allow it for normal people. It's for people who are male or female on the outside, but the other gender in reality. By that I mean they are not physically the gender they should be.

WaSalaam, Hajar

#21 Guest_abaleada_*

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 08:23 PM

(bismillah)
(salam)
The ways in which we Muslims react to issues that emotionally impact us will almost always reflect on Islam to non-Muslims, and even to Muslims. I have learned this. The hard way.

Please read http://en.wikipedia....nder_identities and http://www.gender.or...yo/42_gnerr.htm. Gender is not as simple a matter as many of us asume, especially in today's world of chemical, noise, and light pollution.

#22 DigitalMo

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 09:03 PM

Its not only men changing to be women, its women also changing to be men.

It is regarded as an illness, now whether it is a mental illness or otherwise, and whether the best cure is a psycological one or a physical one. I think in the absence of a psycological cure, the next best thing is having a physical operation to cure the illness. It is better to cure it then let it turn into something that could have been avoided.

"Iranian society has yet to catch up with its religious leaders - who say transsexuality is an illness like any other for which Islam has the solution and science the cure."

I prefer these people are treated.

#23 MustafaAlSadr

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 11:07 PM

This is a link to the tv programme,

http://www.bbc.co.uk...t/newsnight.ram

it can be seen at 34mins..

Is it true this was Ayatollah Khomeini's view.

http://www.the-siste...ordan/id12.html

The Transexual Alliance of the Kingdom of Jordan.. i cannot below what i am reading...

Cairo (AFP) from the Jordan Times, November 12, 1995.

Seven years after throwing out a medical student who changed from a man to a woman, Al Azhar, the highest Sunni Islam authority in Egypt, has permitted transsexuality under some conditions.

"A man can undergo an operation to become a woman and a woman can do the reverse if a doctor deems the intervention necessary to bring out signs of femininity or masculinity which are present but hidden" a new fatwa or religious decision said.

"Since 1988 around 20 sex change cases have been registered in Egypt. Most of them involve men who become women," the head of the civil status bureau, Ibrahim Beseila, told AFP.

Sex change operations are authorized by Egypt's doctors' union "but are done quietly due to the sarcasm they raise fro the public" a union source said.

Sayed Abdullah, the first known case in Egypt, ran into more than just sneers. Al Azhar University threw him out of its medical school in 1988 after he underwent the operation and emerged Sali Abdullah.

At the time the university condemned the transsexual as a "disgusting imitation of a woman forbidden by Islam".

An administrative court later overturned the university's ruling and ordered Sali placed in Al Azhar's medical school for women.

But Sali had no problem in avoiding military service, required only for men in Egypt. She also succeeded in changing her identity card after a surprised ministry of interior committee assigned with reviewing changes in the document called in doctors to testify to the first-ever change in the 'sex' category of the card.

Sali also married after working as a belly dancer in a Cairo cabaret where she attracted numerous clients, not to mention the interest of the press in which her photo was everywhere.

But Sali turned down an interview with AFP, saying, 'My husband is jealous and has forbidden me to speak to the press. I obey him to preserve our happiness.'

The instant press interest the revealed transsexual raises has apparently given ideas to men looking to get out of their military service and women wanting more than their half-share of inheritances.

'Once a farmer arrived in a niqab (a veil that completely covers the face) and speaking in a feminine voice. He didn't expect to be examined by doctors who confirmed that he was male,' Biseilla said.




.c The Associated Press

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Under Islamic law, a male heir inherits twice the amount that a female does. So what happens if one of the heirs has had a sex-change operation?

The son of a deceased millionaire recently asked the Alexandria personal statute court to limit his brother to a half share of his father's estate on grounds the brother had undergone an operation to become a woman, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Sunday.

The court ruled that the brother was entitled to a full share since he didn't have the operation until after his father's death.

Edited by MustafaAlSadr, 06 January 2005 - 11:10 PM.


#24 Guest_newshia_*

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Posted 07 January 2005 - 12:13 AM

I don't think you should be so quick to judge it. I don't agree with it but I don't know that much about it anyway, I just assumed it wouldn't be allowed in Islam anyway. We should at least listen to what Ayatollah Khomeini exactly said. I think someone posted it... although I still don't agree with it. If we can all start changing such a fundamental thing about ourselves it can't be good for society, especially since the men who want to change into women seem to be basing their desire for a sex-change on the fact that they liked playing with make-up and dresses when they were kids, so it's all because of social stereotypes which needn't even be in force anyway.

Another point. Like men don't control everything in the world, abusing and oppressing women for centuries (and don't bother saying Allah controls everything, I know that, and you know what I mean so don't be pedantic), they still aren't happy with that, they have to be able to BE women! It makes me so angry!  :mad:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What are you raving about? These people have lived their lives literally feeling like the other gender; it is more than just some sick fantasy, it is their reality. Some of them even have both genitalia (or most even). It is surely more than just games; it is a serious issue. They are unfortunate people who receive some relief through these good doctors.

#25 Hizbullah

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Posted 07 January 2005 - 08:27 AM

(bismillah)
(salam)

This has already been clarified in some other post. I hope someone can clarify it again because I don't have much time.

wassalam



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