Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bahraini Fighting to Be Recognized as a Man

A 30-year-old intersex person (someone who is born being neither totally man nor female) is fighting in Bahrain to be legally recognized as a man, as reported in the Gulf Daily News this month. A quote:

But [Fowzia Mohammed Janahi, the plaintiff's lawyer] says the Quran permits the operation in the right circumstances.

"The case is very difficult in the Gulf," she said.

"In Kuwait there have been nine cases and all were rejected.

"They also have cases in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, but the law does not agree with it.

"Maybe outside (Bahrain) it is easier to change, but we are Muslim people.

"The family feels shame to change the sex, if they have a daughter they feel she should be a daughter and want her to stay that way.

"Bahrain is a very small country and everybody knows each other.

"It is very difficult for this kind of case, but we have a reason for this one and all the reports agree that there needs to be a change."
It's important to note that this person is not transgendered. Transgendered means you are born with a fully-functioning body of one sex, but feel you are another. This person is intersex, shown by the fact that genetically she is a man. I hope the court finds in his favor; this is a disease that can be proven, and should therefore be ruled on favorably. You never know, though.

I wonder if the cases referenced in other countries in the article were similar. Being intersex is extremely rare, 1 in 13,000 for this instance, so nine cases in Kuwait seems unlikely.

I have no idea what the repercussions of a positive ruling could be. It could pave the way for transgendered people. Or, they could be seen as too different of a case, and therefore receive no benefit. Who knows?

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