Be Like Others: Transsexual in Iran

74 minutes 6.4/10

Be Like Others (also known as Transsexual in Iran) is a 2008 documentary film written and directed by Tanaz Eshaghian about transsexuals in Iran. It explores issues of gender and sexuality while following the personal stories of some of the patients at a Tehran clinic.

Although homosexual relationships are illegal (punishable by death) in Iran, sex reassignment operations are permitted. In 1983, spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini passed a fatwa allowing sex-change operations as a cure for “diagnosed transsexuals”. Be Like Others shows the experiences of male and female patients at Dr. Bahram Mir-Jalali’s Mirdamad Surgical Centre, a sex-reassignment clinic in Tehran.

One of them is Ali Askar, a 24 year-old man who faces harassment from other men due to his feminine appearance and behaviour. He does not want to become a woman but sees no other options for him in Iranian society.

He decides to go ahead with the surgery despite death threats from his father and finds support from Vida, a post-operative transsexual he meets at the clinic. By the end of the film, Ali has become a woman named Negar. She has been disowned by her family, experienced depression and has had to work as a prostitute. 20 year-old Anoosh is another young man who has been ostracised due to his femininity.

His boyfriend feels more comfortable when Anoosh dresses as a woman, and in contrast to Ali, Anoosh’s mother is supportive of his desire to change sex. The end of the film shows Anoosh — now Anahita — happy and engaged to her boyfriend.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • claudia

    the so called journalist in the clinic pisses me off, even the doctor is a weirdo. The patients are the more normal ones there.

    • Bernhard in Boston

      Dear girl:

      It is the only chance people have of saving themselves from being ostracized and even stoned to death.

      The journist has a personal issue in this documentary, there is no doubt about it, but, Iranians live almost in isolation from the rest of the world for more than a generation, so their theocratically inspired rationale is not parallel to yours, Claudia.

      The Doctor might be a bit odd, but, how many physician do you know would be running a practice on the red?

      When analyzing the World, do not look at it by our American Yardstick; we have gotten in trouble and have done more harm because we believe everyone should be like us …

      • claudia

        I’m from portugal, so I don´t really mesure things by “our american yardstick” at all.

        My comment was an angry vent since I was very upset by the circumstances these people have to face.

        I’m aware their rationale is way different but a doctor saying his patient has a big penis on camera (particularly in this context) before the operation is not odd, is disrespectful and far from professional anywhere in the world.

        I’m not so sure it is the way to save themselves. Except for the girl who already had the boyfriend before the op most of them did not seem to actually want the operation and were miserable afterwards. They may not be stoned to death but are ostracised and shunned by their family just the same.

        • BrokenHalo

          I totally agree with you – same outcome regardless.

    • BrokenHalo

      Claudia I completely agree with you….my heart totally broke for the young man/now young woman who actually had the operation and was now supporting herself through prostitution. From what I could gather from the documentary, the operation is a way for the government to eradicate homosexuals. This was absolutely shocking and an eye opener for me. My heart goes out to all these people lining up to be slaughtered so their society can feel comfortable.

      Their religion even has the loop hole around the use of prostitutes – marriages for 1 hr !!!! That way men in the society can feel like its okay to be with the manufactured prostitutes and nothing goes against their religion….such a crock !!!!! This was so disturbing !!!!!

  • agnusdei

    Hello,

    Video’s not playing..it’s just advertisement one after another. I hope this will be fixed

    • http://www.documentarystorm.com Jonas

      Works quite fine for me agnusdei.

      Im guessing you’re living in USA, as Dailymotion (and Youtube) are usually pushing in advertisments in the videos.

      The only advice I can give you is to sit through the ads and wait for the actual documentary.

  • Shadow

    any chance of getting this video back up?

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