Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

September 15, 2008

A very interesting article on a topic that, in the West, tends to be limited to examples of Muslim intolerance towards homosexuality. Transgender issues are notoriously under-reported too, but this article covers them well. 

From MERIP (Middle East Report Online):

Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

Kerem Öktem

September 2008

(Kerem Öktem is a fellow at the European Studies Centre of St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.)

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for papers: Islam and sexuality

March 20, 2008

CONTEMPORARY ISLAM: DYNAMICS OF MUSLIM LIFE

CALL FOR PAPERS: A SPECIAL ISSUE ON ISLAM AND SEXUALITY

Contemporary Islam is an exciting and innovative multidisciplinary journal devoted to the exploration of contemporary Muslim lives. The journal provides insights into the contemporary dynamics of Muslim life by focusing on questions concerning the presence of Muslim migrants in the West as well as western-born Muslims, and the continuing active role that Islam plays in their lives. The journal also explores the idea of ‘the West’ among Muslims as well as the relationship between Muslim identities and social life. The Journal regards Islam as a modern religion in today’s global societies.

We seek high-quality theoretical and empirical articles of between 8,000 and 10,000 words to be considered for publication in a special issue on Islam and sexuality. We particularly welcome contributions in the following themes: Read the rest of this entry »


Gender troubles – transsexuality in Iran

March 10, 2008

Over the last few years there’s been some intermittent mainstream interest in transsexuality both in the West and in the Middle East. Although the topic was somewhat taboo in the West until relatively recently, it has been discussed quite openly in Iran for the last 25 years. The relative openess surrounding this topic in the Islamic Republic has aroused the curiosity of the Western media, and reports on transsexuality in Iran such as this article often try to come to terms with the fact gender reassignment surgery is religiously sanctioned (even encouraged) in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Is the 25 year old fatwa allowing ‘diagnosed’ transsexuals to undergo surgery a sophisticated and modern approach to a serious issue that is often not dealt with satisfactorily in even in the West, or is it simply the outcome of an inability to accept homosexuality? Read the rest of this entry »