How not to be yourself

Be Like Others is an amazing documentary on a hidden world in Iran:

In a country where homosexuality is punishable by death, the state has discovered a ”˜cure’. Welcome to Iran, where male is male and female is female – with nothing in between; where a 1979 fatwa authorised sex-change operations for ”˜diagnosed transsexuals’ and one doctor alone has performed more ”˜gender reassignments’ in one year than the entire country of France has seen in 10 years. Be Like Others takes us inside the realm of institutionalised shame, where homosexuality can be erased by a ”˜simple’ change in gender and where gay men are forced to find acceptance under the surgeon’s knife.

I saw the work today at the Melbourne Film Festival, a painful reminder of the reality of repressed sexuality in a fundamentalist society. Homosexuality is denied, perversions are unavoidable. The director spoke at this year’s Sundance Film Festival:

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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