Egyptian transgender woman faces uphill battle against stigma

  • World
  • Thursday, 12 Nov 2020

Egyptian transgender woman Farida Aly sits with a friend at her home in northern Egypt , October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Hanaa Habib

CAIRO (Reuters) - Farida Aly spent decades performing blood tests, brain scans and personality tests before doctors issued the needed medical reports to allow her to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Born Mohamed Ramadan Aly, the transgender woman is one of the few in the conservative Muslim country able to confront what doctors diagnosed as gender dysphoria.

"I had a life, and I lost it completely. But I made my decision to be the person I wanted to be," said Aly, 50.

While the gender reassignment procedure is legal, it is a long and complicated process that is highly stigmatized.

Discrimination against LGBT+ groups is rife in Egypt, with gay and transgender people facing instances of assault and torture, according to Human Rights Watch.

The issue was brought to public attention earlier this year when a prominent Egyptian actor revealed on a TV talk show that his son was transgender, and expressed support for him.

Aly, however, was abandoned by her family and left jobless after extended medical leave, and has had to move to a new town where only a handful of people know about her past.

"Our society will never accept my situation, or won't accept it easily. Society can accept the opposite of my situation but never my own, I have no idea why. It's just this rule engraved in their minds," she said.

The former teacher now tutors children in the neighbourhood to earn a living, but her dream is to one day get married and have a child.

"I had a dream that I had a girl and I raised her, brushed her hair and changed her clothes. I named her Alaa, and until this day I am referred to as Um Alaa (mother of Alaa).

"Nobody in the neighbourhood calls me by my (first) name, they call me Um Alaa," she said.

(Reporting by Hanaa Habeib; Writing by Seham Eloraby and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Mike Collett-White)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In World

'You can't clone us': Polish doctors cry for help as COVID deaths spike
Pentagon team reveals Covid-19-detecting chip that can be implanted in the body
Opponents of Myanmar coup announce unity government
Sweden eases restrictions on people who have had COVID vaccination
Merkel says lockdowns, curfews vital to break Germany's third wave
UK's Frost says positive momentum in EU talks, difficult issues remain
Britain must act jointly with EU on Northern Ireland - EU's Sefcovic
Opponents of Myanmar's junta set up national unity government
'Mass casualty' shooting reported in US city of Indianapolis, gunman dead, say police
Denmark speeds up reopening as epidemic stabilises

Stories You'll Enjoy