Synthetic Drug Revolution & Transsexuals of Iran
In the world of synthetic drugs, man-made chemical compounds are often engineered to skirt narcotics laws-and have become some of the most frequently abused substances in American high schools. The makers of these drugs race to keep ahead of law enforcement by making incremental changes in the compounds' molecular structure, even though the effects of those alterations can turn out to be dangerous. VICE correspondent Hamilton Morris tracks these chemicals back to the Chinese factories where many are made, and meets the godfather of modern synthetic drugs at his remote lab in New Zealand.
VICE follows the stories of homosexuals and transsexuals in Iran as they navigate a terrifying cultural landscape. When Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, he enforced strict Islamic custom that made homosexuality punishable by death. Surprisingly, though, the state treats transsexuals differently, allowing sexual reassignment surgery and in some cases even paying for it. But the fatwa allowing the surgery has a grim drawback: families, therapists, and the state see gender reassignment as a solution to the "illness" of homosexuality-not understanding the risks of forcing the long, life-changing process of a sex change on someone who wasn't born wanting it. Gay Iranians now face the agonizing choice of fleeing their communities or permanently changing who they are.