Whispering like conspirators, the two cousins hook their thumbs in their belt loops, skim cocky eyes over the women and swivel, stiff-legged from their hips, like the men they have become. Across the room, and a few steps away on the gender spectrum, a man with shaggy hair wrinkles a pug nose in the mirror and struggles to drape a silky scarf over his head.....
Where do you think? San Francisco? Stockholm? Try Tehran. That's right, the Islamic Republic of Iran, where gay male sex carries the death penalty and lesbians are lashed (talk about gender disparity in punishment), allows gender reassignment surgery based on a fatwa (Islamic religious edict) by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- yes, that Ayatollah Khomeini -- nearly four decades ago.
Khomeini reasoned that if men or women wished so intensely to change their sex, to the point that they believed they were trapped inside the wrong body, then they should be permitted to transform that body and relieve their misery. His opinion had more to do with what isn't in the Koran than what is. Sex change isn't mentioned, Khomeini's thinking went, so there are no grounds to consider it banned.
the article -- it's VERY eye-opening.