Originally published by the BBC
Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death. Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender reassignment surgery – and to avoid it many flee the country.
Growing up in Iran, Donya kept her hair shaved or short, and wore caps instead of headscarves. She went to a doctor for help to stop her period.
“I was so young and I didn’t really understand myself,” she says. “I thought if I could stop getting my periods, I would be more masculine.”
If police officers asked for her ID and noticed she was a girl, she says, they would reproach her: “Why are you like this? Go and change your gender.”