A+| A| A-

State-building, Science and Religion

Sexuality in Iran

What can a study of transsexuality in Iran contribute to its broader global understanding? Some disaffiliation, if not actual animosity, is often assumed between science and religion, sometimes placed in relation to larger concepts such as “modernity” and “tradition.” But, developments in Iran over the past three decades reveal the coming together of science and religion; these have generated possibilities for living alternatively gendered and sexual lives. The implications of some of these developments are explored.

Today, the dominant narrative in Iran on transsexuality consists of two—at times parallel, at times competing—storylines: one is the familiar psycho-sexological story of transsexuality as a gender identity disorder, dominant among the medical science professionals (including surgeons and psychologists); the other is the narrative of discordance between the gender of the soul and that of the body. The latter is more in circulation among transsexuals, social workers, and a vocal group of Islamic scholars, based in seminary circles of Qum, in conversation with scientists and transsexuals. Social workers, for instance, often depend critically on this narrative to produce parental support for their transsexual offspring, which is especially important for observant Muslim families. How has this come about? What possibilities have been generated, and within what boundaries, by the interaction of scientific reasoning, theological explanations, and the legal clarity demanded by the state?

Early Phase of the ‘Gender Culture War’

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 3rd Nov, 2017

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

The absence of a gender perspective in the labour laws and the absence of any labour rights perspective in the anti-trafficking frameworks are the...

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a key legislation in India that enables women to transcend the public–private dichotomy and stake their claim for...

One of the major milestones of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is to provide a...

Since the 1990s, the discourse around caste-based reservations has taken a sharp turn towards hostility, which has resulted in pushing individuals...

This paper examines the experiences of dispossessed women in terms of accessing work opportunities in a setting of opencast coal mining in Talcher...

The relationship between social reproduction and capital accumulation in independent India is delineated by arguing that social reproduction...

The rise of web-based social spaces has expanded the political sphere beyond the boundaries of the nation state, while also disseminating and...

With a focus on “Indian” feminisms in the United States diaspora, based on their experiences as academics committed to social justice issues, two...

An ethnographic study of the women migrants in Barkas, an old Arabian neighbourhood in Hyderabad, shows that women migrants over the years have...

Back to Top