In this BBC news story from 2014, Donya, a lesbian from Iran, now granted asylum in Canada, says, “I was under so much pressure that I wanted to change my gender as soon as possible.” The article casually suggests cross-sex treatment is not mandatory for lesbian and gay Iranians, but the truth emerging is much more complicated, and we know that such mutilation is the only alternative to death and despair for many.
Notice that Donya says she “WANTED” to do this. In her perception, this was a “choice” and she embraced it. Nevertheless her story makes it clear how her perception was manipulated by her culture so her ability to make any real choices based on true information was almost obliterated.
In feminist analyses, it is sometimes taken as axiomatic that women seek cross-sex hormones and medicalized mutilation in a desperate attempt to escape our sex-based oppression. While it…
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