Some Middle Eastern nations are banning West Side Story.
Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the classic American musical premieres Friday. Several countries are blocking the film because of its pro-gay and transgender subtext, as one of its characters is transgender.
Iris Menas, who identifies as nonbinary and whose biological gender is unclear, plays Anybodys in the film. While the character was female in the 1961 film version of the musical and played a tomboy role, Anybodys is written as a transgender person in Spielberg's version of the film, although that information is not disclosed in the performance itself.
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Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries that won't view the film, according to a report. They are typically averse to gay and transgender material.
Qatar and Oman reportedly requested that Disney censor parts of the film by cutting scenes, but to no avail.
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Spielberg's movie is an adaptation of the 1961 film and the 1957 musical.