The following lines are to be my first article here on planet transgender, and I want to take the chance to say that I feel honored to be part of this wonderful place, and I hope that I would be able to contribute as much as I can to help the Arab transgender community to reach a new level, a better place, and give them better chances and make them better individuals in their societies.
Talking about the Arab countries, the first thing you need to know is that they are very conservative communities. Religious and cultural habits have big influence on people. Both, religion and culture are almost the only references when it comes to people’s point of view of basic rules of life there. This influence makes it difficult to understand and accept anything considered as new, different or uncommon.
Same as other cultures, rejection is the most difficulty you will face as a transgender person in the Arab world. Rejection from almost everyone and everything. You’ll find yourself alone, everybody will be against you, family, relatives, friends, society, religious people, government, and in lots of cases, doctors.
The rejection from family, relatives and friends is mainly a result of feeling that the transgender person will only bring shame. Arabic societies are known for its strong family relationships, the big family is important, you will never find a person who is not connected to every member who shares the same family roots, and because of this very strong connectivity, the first thing you will here is “what will people say”. It is as simple as that, you are not allowed to be who you are because some third degree cousin might feel that you have dishonored the family name, you will be hearing things like “no one will want to marry your sister or brother”. And if you decided to neglect the family feelings, and managed somehow to run away, then you have to leave and don’t show yourself to them again, migration will be your only option, and you have accept the fact that for them, you are their deceased son/daughter.
Society and government will be no less harmful, you are not allowed to change your name or gender, you will not get a chance to change your legal documents, and you won’t be able to find a job and make a living. Streets will be your home, and if you are caught by police, you will be treated like a criminal, humiliated and punished for something that you didn’t choose.
As for the religious figures, they do not recognize gender identity disorder as a real thing; they always connect it to homosexuality, which is a taboo in Islam. You will always be someone who wants to change his/her sex in order to enjoy sexual fantasies, there is nothing as gender identity, you are only what god made you from outside, anything else is just hallucinations, and the surgeries are changing god’s creation, which leads directly to hell.
Doctors are supposed to be your allies, but not in the Arab world, not because they do not understand your gender dysphoria, but because they want to avoid the problems they will face from families of their transgender clients. They will try to convince you to adjust, accept your fate, and if they fail, they will only advise you to leave your home and find another country where you will be accepted.
As a result of the rejection you will face as an Arab transgender, you will have one of four options, hide your true self, commit suicide, die on streets, or leave for good.
I hope that one day my words will reach someone who can take a real action; I want to draw the world’s attention to us, so that we might be able to live our lives as we should.