What's It Like to Be Gay or Trans in Iran?

Vice, HBO, Iran

If you know anything about Iran, you can probably guess what their policy toward homosexuality is. What you may find surprising is how they treat transgender men and women. 

Though homosexuality is punishable by death, transexuals are allowed to get sexual reassignment surgery. In some instances, the government will pay for it. In fact, Iran has become a "world capital" of the procedure.

If this leaves you scratching your head, then you should understand the twisted logic behind this policy. As VICE correspondent Thomas Morton follows the stories of homosexuals and transsexuals in Iran as they navigate a terrifying cultural landscape uncovers, sexual reassignment surgery in Iran is not meant to allow transgender women to live in the bodies in which they are meant to be. Rather, the procedure is viewed as a “cure” for homosexuality: if a man likes men, then make him a woman. 

This leaves gay male Iranians with a seemingly impossible choice: Leave everything behind and flee the country or permanently change who they are. 

The VICE on HBO episode airs tonight at 11 p.m. Watch a sneak peek below:

 

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