On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of Yogyakarta.

By Rochelle Terman

TEHRAN, Iran—When Shadi Amin was growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, she began experiencing sexual feelings toward other girls. “I thought there was something wrong with me,” she says. “I thought, maybe I should change something.” By “something,” Amin was referring not to her identity or lifestyle, but to her gender. “If I was that young girl living in Iran today, I would have considered having a sex change operation,” even though she has never identified with being male.

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