Add to this the firm, hegemonic hold of Islamophobia and its attendant fetishisms and orientalist fascinations with all things Muslim, and you have a context primed for the publication of this book.
Despite the allure of potential audiences/markets born of these current historical circumstances, however, Najmabadi does not kowtow to a desire for representations of trans Iran by rendering ethnographically stable subjects.
Many signs are in English as well as Farsi, but there are a lot of places that just don’t bother, so you’ll always be the last one to know what’s going on.
Alcohol is forbidden, as is staying in a room with a member of the opposite sex who isn't your spouse. It’s either a dormitory-style place that looks like a cross between jail and college (designed for long-term visa waitees), or a tourist hotel that costs at least twice what it should.
Like , Farhadi’s latest is a small masterpiece of psychological suspense.
There are no heroes or villains, no moral truths, just the inherent emotional chaos of human experience.
So rather than represent stable and coherent postoperative subjects who in the West might be understood to have found their “authentic selves,” Najmabadi examines how institutions like medicine, media, the state, and Islam, both as globalized epistemic formations and through their localized practices, come to constitute the complex lexicon through which Iranian trans and same-sex-desiring persons profess contingent and dynamic versions of self over time.It can be even a police/army vehicle (they are in every corner of Iran): they will pick you up and even stop a car for you and convince a driver to take you further.In Farsi language (official language in Iran spoken as a first or second language by most citizens) the word "hitchhiking" doesn't exist.This historical and ethnographic study comes at a moment in which two popular American serials feature transgender characters, a time of growing attention to transgender rights and experiences in the American public sphere.Yet it is also a time in which Iran continues to be an American foreign policy focus with the conclusion of nuclear talks and the loosening of sanctions while at the same time being represented in popular American and Canadian media as a nation ironically at the forefront of both transgender rights and homosexual oppression.