The next installment of HBO's VICE documentary series, which premiered Friday, took on "a terrifying cultural landscape" as it looks at a Muslim country whose government will pay for what it calls "sex-change" surgery as a so-called cure for homosexuality.
The show's producers shared an advanced clip of the segment reported by VICE correspondent Thomas Morton. It's an astonishing tale about how gay men who are not transgender are compelled to have what would normally be gender-affirmative surgery if they were indeed trans. For many if not all of these men, it's a matter of living as someone they are not for the rest of their lives following surgery — or facing execution.
Once a relatively progressive country, Iran became a fundamentalist Islamic state where homosexuality is punishable by death after the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Public executions of gay men in Iran is a frequent occurrence. In fact, the noosed bodies of young men are sometimes put on trucks and paraded through cities, towns and villages for all to see.
Watch in the clip above as VICE's Morton brings home the frightening reality of being gay in Iran.