A Big Step for Jordanian Transgender People

Jordanian Transgender

No matter how optimistic I might usually sound, I have never really felt that things are going to be better for us, Jordanian transgender men and women. Deep inside, I always believed that we will never get the chance to speak and say: “hey Jordan, we are here”. But today, I am happy to say that I was wrong, and I have underestimated my brothers and sisters in Jordan. And for that, I apologize.

To explain what is it that made me realize how wrong I was, I will start by saying MyKali. MyKali is “an online conceptual social webzine”, an online magazine that started from Jordan in 2007, focusing on what can be described as taboos in a society like the Jordanian society, and the LGBTQ related topics are the mother of taboos in Jordan. The magazine proudly describes itself as “a leader, not a follower” and this year’s IDAHOT proved that it is a fact, when MyKali joined an advocacy group in Jordan, to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

Despite the fact that the participants of this event was described as a small crowd, but the hope they had was bigger than any time before, a hope for a future where transgender people can be recognized as vital members of the society, a hope for a safer environment, a hope for life.

Out of the topics that were highlighted in the event, the Challenges of the Transgender Community in Jordan, was a topic by a 21 year old Transgender Activist Dana. I quote here form MyKali’s report:

“The biggest challenge that transgender members of the Jordanian society suffer from today is that the government of Jordan does not recognize them. “If you are a transgender you cannot change your name, ID, driver’s license, or passport,” Dana says. These challenges become evidently straining when, for example, you are applying to universities when your face and gender expression on the outside does not match your name on your ID card. Facing society, family, and friends is even harsher as being born in a different body is not something that you can hide or is easily accepted.

In Jordan, one can only change their name on an ID card if they can prove they have physically changed themselves, but such transforming surgeries cannot be done in Jordan. The Transgender community in Jordan needs to have more support and must achieve their full rights as dignified citizens of this country.”

The participants were joined by the U.S. Ambassador in Jordan, Her Excellency Alice G. Wells, who shared her personal experience, and also by Jana Zeineddine, an Actress and singer. Janna talked about the identity and where do we start to educate the society and change their concepts.

 Jordanian Transgender

The following days witnessed the online media focusing on the event, but unfortunately, in a negative way, claiming that it is a sort of gathering of LGBT people to celebrate their homosexuality and demanding their rights. The articles went further by accusing the American ambassador to be the actual organizer and motivator for such gathering. They said it as a foreign event that doesn’t belong to a conservative society like the Jordanian. Worse than that was the readers’ reaction, a huge amount of attack by the readers who didn’t miss the chance to show their rejection and hate towards the LGBT community and its members, in another word, show how homophobic and transphobic they are, beside showing their ignorance and lack of understanding of the difference between a gay person and a transgender person.

MyKali sets them straight

MyKali published a disclaimer on their website and their Facebook page, explaining the actual purpose of the event. The post started by “With reference to misleading and recent media articles in Jordan and the MENA region regarding the 2015 Jordan-edition of the ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia’ (IDAHOT) event. Please read carefully to know what factual”, the full post can be found on this link

Finally, the event was misunderstood, attacked by the media and society, but at least, people now know that there are people who are transgender, they know that they are raising their voices, and they know that they have several types of phobia, which was the purpose of IDAHOT in the first place. And based on that, in my humble opinion, the event was a success as a first step.

I want to thank MyKali, the activists, Dana, the U.S. Ambassador, the lovely Jana, and everyone else who took part in this event. It was a big step into raising awareness about transgender people, a step that need to be followed by even bigger steps until eventually we can stop dreaming and actually living.

I am a Jordanian, Palestinian trans-woman. Writing has always been more than a hobby, it was my passion, the thing I do to express myself and let my feeling live, it was my special world. Now, I am trying to utilize my writing skills to help the transgender community in the Arab and Muslim world. I want to give a chance to our conservative societies to understand us, accept us, and treat us like any other society member.

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6 Responses to A Big Step for Jordanian Transgender People

  1. To the American Ambassador June 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

    To the American Ambassador In Regards of Supporting IDAHOT ,

    You are not allowed to Interfere In Jordan Social Life or Our Customs & Tradition Nor Religion as it is a violation of diplomatic protocol.

    Article 41(1) of the Vienna Convention, which the ambassador is deemed to have violated, reads: “Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.”,

    On the Other-hand If USA and planet transgender Want those people Take them out of Our Country They are yours by all mean .

    Your not welcome nor them . We Stand with our government Against Establishing Special Organization for such People who Break all the rules of Our Belief & Tradition , We the people of Jordan refuse their existing in our society & Refuse your Support and your Action.

    • Maya Moody June 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      I believe that you don’t have the slightest clue what does the word “transgender” mean. You should read and learn before giving any statement on behalf of Jordanians. Transgender doesn’t mean gay or lesbian or anything related to homosexuality. We are just people who is looking to live by their true gender identity, this is something recognized by scientist, doctors and even religious (Muslim) figures.
      Moreover, you should know that we are Jordanians whether you like it or not, and for you being a Cisgender person doesn’t make you more Jordanian than us, and doesn’t make you better than us either.
      أنصحك بالقراءة أكثر في موضوع إضطراب الهوية الجنسية لتعرف حينها من نحن وما هو الفرق بيننا وبين المثليين.

      شكراً لمرورك

  2. a,a November 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Maya

    i am a trans woman myself and might move to Amman for work. i am also from an Arab country that doesn’t recognize trans people and we are not allowed to change our documents. can you advise on the problems faced by trans people? is it a problem at the airport for example or governmental institution where an ID or passport has to be presented? what are the implications, if any.

    • Maya A. November 29, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Hi,

      At the airport, if your appearance doesn’t match the picture in your passport you might face some difficulties, same thing will be anywhere you might need to present your ID. but if your photos in you documents are updated, things will be better, not more than some raised eyebrows.

      If you have any questions or you need more information please feel free to contact me on any of my profiles (Facebook, twitter)

      Regards,

      Maya

  3. Kim June 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Hello, im currently living in jordan but not for long time
    Is anybody know a good doctor i could trust if im on going for my therapy and can talk about my identity

  4. Kim June 6, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Hello, im planning to take my T for my therapy im butch les,, if anybody here know doctor that i could contact plss
    My mobile 07885945416
    Fb- kimby cabale
    Thank you
    Hope i can find soon as possible