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Afsaneh Najmabadi: Professing Selves

Afsaneh Najmabadi: Professing Selves

Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran. USA 2013, 432 pp., brochure, € 37.95
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Duke University Press
Since the mid-1980s, Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. In »Professing Selves«, the author explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable »true« transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the »true« homosexual, an »unacceptable« category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials - which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being - grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely »trans« depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.
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