Emirati woman seeks legal route to sex change

Emirati woman seeks legal route to sex change
2 min read
20 September, 2016
For the first time in UAE history, an woman from Abu Dhabi has filed a lawsuit to undergo a sex change operation.
Surgeon reaching for instrument on tray operating room [Getty]

For the first time in UAE history, an Emirati woman has filed a lawsuit to undergo a sex change operation, her lawyer reported on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old filed a lawsuit with the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance to obtain permission for surgery, after the law legalising the operation where an individual could undertake gender reassignment surgery passed earlier this month.

Her lawyer, Ali al-Mansouri, told Gulf News that his client always felt as if she wasn't the gender she physically appeared to be.

He said that his client's physical body did not truly reflect her inner person, but instead caused her severe anxiety, depression and stress on a daily basis:

"Ever since she was three, the woman felt instead that she is actually a male. She would have an intense desire to have a male body and to be accepted by others as a male and would feel her true identity is male."

The Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance said that it would hear the case on 28 September, in what will be a historic first for the Arab nation.

The UAE's Medical Liability Law that allows such gender reassignment surgery based on medical grounds came into effect after the official gazette published the news earlier this month.

The law itself was issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The legislation states that: "The surgical procedure by which a transgender person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of their identified gender is permitted if it is part of a treatment for gender dysphoria in transgender people, as advised by a medical commission to be set up for this purpose."