Kuwait installs 22 Female public prosecutors. Now will they stop hunting down trans woman for fun?

Kuwait woman judges page Photo posted by Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi سلطان سعود القاسمي on facebook where he introduces it writing, “Twenty-two Kuwaiti women were sworn-in by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council yesterday to become the first Kuwaiti females to be appointed as public prosecutors”

This is a huge step forward for Kuwait were getting a flat tire while trans could mean jail. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented state sanctioned brutality directed against trans people in Kuwait as the police hunt down transgender people for fun.
Reading the comments on the Sultans Facebook post is depressing. Many of his followers who you might presume are progressive, are not, and it becomes immediately clear the human rights movement in Kuwait is in it’s infancy.

And as we know cisgender woman rights do not translate to transgender rights automatically.

Kuwait article 198 prohibits  “imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex” with fines and or imprisonment [Human Rights Watch 17 January 2008].
Adult and consensual sexual acts between women is legal in Kuwait.[1] ((Wikipedia)

Planet Transgender has been documenting Kuwait’s inhuman treatment of transgender woman since 2012.

In 2012 16 transgender woman were hunted down and persecuted after attending a wedding.

In 2013 the Kuwaiti government started doing DNA tests on migrant workers to make sure the woman coming into Kuwait were fully genetically female.

In 2014 Police arrested seven transgender woman for the ‘crime’ of living authentically.

It’s plain to see the transgender is still being hunted down by the authorities. But will the addition of woman prosecutors help?

Not according to one traveler from Sweden who asked a resident about this:

I asked one of my male Kuwaiti friends what he thought of the women prosecutors and he gladly shared his views – on the condition that he could remain anonymous. My friend is not an activist, but he says he like to keep an eye on politics. His answer surprised me as I myself was very positive about the women prosecutors.

“I am not so excited” he says. “In 2005, I was super excited for women to get the ‘right’ of voting. But having a look into history will show something hidden. Before 2005, There was a lot of failed attempts for female activists for the right of voting. What was changed in 2005? It is external pressure. The government in Kuwait wanted to release this pressure by directing the members to vote for the right of the woman. Therefore, women were used to polish the authorities’ image to the West, and gaining this right was not because of local female activists.

The trick is using women to polish the image of the governments from the Western perspective, without allowing a real impact within the inside of the society. In all cases, what did women added in Kuwait after 10 years of gaining the right? We still see discrimination against women, less rights in the society etc.

The government today has a bad image because of funding the extremist groups all over the world, and it need to polish the image again. Therefore, women are the best tool to be used. I don’t feel that the society is pushing for more women rights. To see real impact, the change should come from the society, the average people. In fact I could say that using women this way is another way of abusing women in a completely patriarchal society. And we will never see any real impact to change the basic systematic violation of women rights.”

We must keep the pressure on Kuwait to stop persecuting transgender people internationally and hope one day soon the change they seek will come from within.

Editor in Chief at | Website

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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