10:24 GMT06 August 2020
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    Since the mid-1980s, transsexuals have been officially recognized by the Iranian authorities and permitted to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

    However, many of them still feel pressure and lack of understanding from their parents and society.
    In an interview with Sputnik Saeed (formerly Setareh), the 20-year-old architecture student shared his story and described difficulties he has faced on the way to establishing his identity.

    "At the age of about 5 or 6, I realized that I was not like other girls. I felt this difference everywhere: in clothes, manners, behavior, and even the manner of speaking. At that time, my family was working hard to teach me to be a girl. But it was useless until I started going to school. At school I also realized deep inside me that my gender identity does not match the gender identity of my classmates. That is why I tried not to get close to girls. I felt very lonely, and the loneliness has intensified with each passing day," Saeed explained.

    Under the current Iranian law, an individual can undergo a sex reassignment operation upon reaching the age of 21, or with parental consent. However, Saeed's relatives have been unable to understand his pain and accept his desire to change his body.

    "Pressure from my relatives has been constantly growing because my family, like many Iranian families, is very religious and adheres to traditions. Therefore, it is natural that they could not accept my gender and psychological disorder. As time went on, my problems became apparent and people's words gradually started reaching the ears of my relatives," Saeed told Sputnik.

    "One day my aunt said: ‘This is the end of the world. Women say they are men and vice versa.' I do not know who gave these people the right to judge us so easily, because even for a moment they are unable to feel what transsexuals have to go through. They don't understand our pain," Saeed said.

    However, despite all difficulties, Saeed hopes that one day his parents would understand him, and try to communicate, rather than constantly insult and beat him. After graduation, Saeed is planning to find a job, save money for the surgery and start a new life.

    The story of the 18-year-old Maryam (formerly Daniel) is more encouraging. She was able to overcome all difficulties to get permission from her parents to undergo a sex change operation, and now feels happy and at ease.

    "When my parents let me go though with the surgery, I was in shock for an entire, I couldn't believe it. Is this a trick?— I thought. I was very much afraid, but I had already decided to do it. Thank God that all stages of the operation went without complications," Maryam said.

    Maryam is very grateful to her parents for their understanding and permission to start a new life.

    "Thank God that today, people's attitude towards transgender people is becoming better in many ways. I hope that there will come a day when people instead of laughing at us, will finally accept us as we are," the young woman concluded.


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