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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Iran's sex change operations

By Frances Harrison
The BBC's Tehran correspondent

In a country that has outlawed homosexuality, Frances Harrison meets one Iranian cleric who says the right to a sex change is a human right.

For 20 years Mahyar has been a woman trapped in a man's body

As a small child Mahyar liked dressing up in women's clothes and experimenting with make-up but as she grew older it got more difficult. "I badly needed to do it but it had to be in secret," she says.

Now she wants to have a sex-change operation - if she can muster the £2,000 it will cost in Iran. If her family doesn't help financially, she says she might sell one of her kidneys to pay for it.

"People say you'll get other illnesses but I think I can live without one kidney. I cannot live between the sky and the earth," says Mahyar.

Frances Harrison's film will be screened on Thursday, 6 January, 2005.
Newsnight is broadcast on BBC Two at 1030pm every weeknight in the UK.


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