Najmabadi’s Transing and Transpassing Across Sex-Gender Walls in Iran provides a foundation for thinking about how dominant narratives play a role in determining what is shamed, tolerated, and accepted in Iran for the trans community. Furthermore, Najmabadi emphasizes the importance of looking at these definitions of sex and gender–as well as the cultural absence of distinction between the two–through a transnational lens. In doing so, transnational cross-cultural analysis is important to understand how borders and definitions of identities are different and fluid depending on intersectional relationships of nationality, race, religion, sex, gender, and sexuality.
1. In thinking about how religion and traditional values impact a culture, what role does marriage play in crossing borders of sex and gender for the “certified” transsexual in Iran? Similarly, how does the struggle of “transsexuals still [existing] under the threat of inauthenticity” (36) come into play when thinking about social pressures on trans and gay identities in this context?
2. How can we use this idea of transing narratives to reconceptualize how “religio-legal-psycho-medical” (27) heteronormative binaries impact society on a private-public scale in Iran?
3. In comparison to the other readings we have analyzed about migration, how does Iran’s navigation of gender regulations–“‘transgender symptoms’ and adolescent ‘sexual symptoms’ signals the many ways in which gender and sex are not taken to be distinct categories in all registers in Iran” (30)–provide flexibility for movement between trans identities? Furthermore, how are these loopholes in this sex-gender walls beneficial and/or harmful?