Transnational transgender rights and immigration law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


On a panel called Queer Necropolitics at the American Anthropological Association meeting in 2009, Sima Shakhsari related the story of Naz, a trans woman from Iran who was featured in a number of documentaries about transsexuality in Iran. In the global North, recent media attention to the situation of trans people in Iran has anxiously deliberated on the visibility of their "suffering." The symptoms of this suffering may include social and familial repudiation, difficulty finding work, and the seemingly odd juxtaposition of a sympathetic medical establishment and government that, simultaneously, imprison gays and lesbians. Such media portrayals explicitly beg a further anxious query of whether trans people in Iran are not simply gays and lesbians undergoing enforced surgical mutilation to live with their partners.1 As Shakhsari pointed out, the rash of documentaries on Iranian trans people generally portray transsexual subjects as stuck in Iran as a repressive "elsewhere," juxtaposed with the ostensible freedom of queer life in the global North. Naz, however, did not remain in Iran. After the documentaries were filmed, she went to Turkey and from there applied successfully for asylum in Canada. A year after arriving in Canada, Naz committed suicide, alone in state-subsidized housing from which she would soon have been evicted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies
PublisherTemple University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781439907481
ISBN (Print)9781439907474
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 by Temple University. All rights reserved.


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