TRANSSEXUALITY AND ISLAM
Does Islam as a religion affect or restrict people’s ideas towards gender issues? Does it make people feel embarrassed or deny who they are? What about transsexuals? Are they not the children of God also? The answer to all these questions is ‘yes’. Over the years with the growing bias and prejudice among Muslims, transsexuality has become a more controversial issue. Since religious parties are in the governing position, the attitudes of the governments affect people. Thus, the comparison of the approaches of Turkey and Iran to transsexuality in terms of governmental and social aspects will help people to better understand Islamic countries’ attitudes towards gender issues. In Islamic countries governmental approaches to the issues are deeply affected from religion. The governmental approaches of Islamic countries Iran, which is governed by theocracy, and Turkey, which is governed by democracy, to transsexuality have slight similarities. To begin with, Tait (2009) points out a really surprising fact that a fatwa is endorsed to confirm the sex change operations by the religious authorities of Iran. In addition to recognizing transsexuality, the government allocates funds to sex change operations. On the other hand, in Iran homosexuality is punished by death penalty according to sharia laws, the holy laws of Islam. The number of the sex change operations has increased owing to this deterrent punishment (para.11-12). Moreover, Bahreini (2008) asserts that ‘‘the permission of transsexuality and sex change operations is motivated by a goal that is more about assimilating gender atypical individuals into the heteronormative order than about broadening horizons for sex/gender possibilities’’ (p.4). Secondly, the governmental approach of Turkey to transsexuality is slightly similar to Iran’s. Atamer(2005) states that according to Turkish Civil Code homosexuals have to agree to certain conditions as a prerequisite of undergoing the gender change...
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