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.
Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, is a cross between a Bond villain and Pastor Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church. In his oil-rich lair, Bolkiah has devised an evil plot to kill all the gays. At least, that's what the Western press and U.S. LGBT groups are saying. Nine months ago, the Sultan promised to phase in a criminal code based on Syariah — Malay for Sharia, Islamic law. This week, Western gay activists decided that that means "outrageous anti-gay legislation." Enough said.
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.