All throughout the middle east, people are enclosed by historical conceptions of binaries; they value genders and prefer the marriage of two opposite sexes. In the Documentary, “A Sinner in Mecca” by Parvez Sharma, he takes us on a journey to the most holy Islamic place in the world, Mecca, to illustrate the role of binaries and gender performance in religion. Upon following his journey, we learn about the reason behind Islamism’s counties persuasion on opposite sex marriage; they value gender because they do not want same sex marriage to interfere with reproduction. It’s not the entire group of LBGT, they despise; they like transsexuals because they pick the gender they want and don’t impede on population growth.
The value of gender is a strong cultural artifact among the middle eastern countries, especially places like Saudi Arabia—the main city, the director targets. For once, places like Saudi Arabia prefer transsexuals over homosexuals; only if the transsexuals are going form male to female, otherwise if a woman were to go to male, it would traditionally unorthodox because the women would be gaining more power.
Old preconceptions about how the gender performance has continued it influence even till this day on the people in the middle east. Women are treated with misogynist and patriarchal views to the extent where it becomes evident that males are the superior gender. And the differences in the genders create differences in many aspects of their lives; for example, there is a shortage of education for women and they are labeled as responsibilities, rather than focusing on equality, the people focus on gender performance and following old norms. The genders have to behave their gender in order to fit in. And if they do not behave in their gender, they are considered an outlaw.
A Sinner in Mecca. Dir. Parvez Sharma and Alison Amron. Prod. Andrew Herwitz and Parvez Sharma. By Sajid Akbar. Perf. Parvez Sharma. 2015. DVD.