Documentary ‘Be Like Others’ Exposes Iran’s Solution for Homosexuals

“Documentary ‘Be Like Others’ exposes Iran’s solution for homosexuals” By Therion

A disturbing documentary titled Be Like Others, exposes the twisted remedy Iran proposes for gay and lesbian people.

Filmmaker, Tanaz Eshaghian, explores the world of sex change operations – all fully funded by the state, in an effort to make homosexuals conform to Iran’s theocratic standards.

A CBC article describes the homophobic agenda that lies behind this policy:

(What the Eshaghian) film reveals is a culture so steeped in hatred of gays and lesbians that it deems a sex change preferable to simply accepting differences in sexual orientation. The shift in policy came more than two decades ago, when Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious decree) declaring sex changes permissible for “diagnosed transsexuals.” Be Like Others introduces us to a number of the people who have been given this label. Some have accepted their fate, and feel the sex change to be a way to avoid further persecution; others are clearly uncomfortable with the idea, but have agreed to it simply because of intense outside pressure.

Those who undergo the procedure are often ostracized by friends and family. Most of the candidates are poor individuals who don’t have the options available to the wealthy. They believe they have no choice except to conform to the demands of the state.

Eshaghian relates that during her filming, a reporter from government controlled media showed up and proceeded to berate and criticize the young people waiting to undergo the operation. The reporter claimed they had brought their troubles with the authorities upon themselves by breaking the rules and cross-dressing before they had the operation.

Iranian authorities suffer from a bad case of myopia when it comes to even acknowledging the existence of homosexuality in their society. This would explain the bizarre statement by Ahmadinejad during his visit to the US, when he claimed that unlike the US – ‘there are no homosexuals in Iran.’

Be Like Others screens as part of Montreal’s World Film Festival which runs until September 1.

Full Article


  1. This shows exactly why it is so important to lobby our own government when it attempts to deport LGBT Iranians (usually claiming they will be fine as long as they’re discreet… as though it is acceptable for anyone to need to be discreet or risk death). Campaigns such as Save Mehdi Kazemi can make a huge difference and save lives. It’s also important to link up the various struggles in Iran- LGBT Iranians are not isolated in their persecution. Gender segregation is widely practiced and women can be stoned for such “crimes” as adultery. A woman only counts as half a witness in court, making it virtually impossible to come forward if a woman has been raped; her word would count for nothing against a man’s. Socialists and trade unionists are imprisoned. Students are imprisoned and tortured just for being anti-war and anti-the theocratic regime. Workers suffer in appalling conditions. Secularists risk their lives daily.

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