Saudi man battles for identity after sex change

The man – who preferred to stay anonymous – spoke of his plight to be identified as a male by Saudi authorities. (Shutterstock)

Since undergoing a sex change operation in 2010, life hasn’t been easy for one Saudi man.

Speaking to a local Saudi newspaper, the man – who preferred to stay anonymous – spoke of his plight to be identified as a male by Saudi authorities.

Three years ago, he applied for an ID that he is still yet to receive. He is now calling upon authorities to expedite the processing of his papers and form a medical committee so that he can lead a normal life.

“I felt very desperate because nobody cared about me and the difficult things I was going through. The procedures were very slow,” he told the Saudi Gazette, in comments published on Sunday.

He had led what the newspaper describes as a “normal life” until he was a sophomore.

“At that time, I started noticing sweeping changes in my physical features. My body hair grew like men and my voice became harsh. Nothing in me indicated that I was a woman,” he said.

"I lived a difficult life until I graduated from university."

“Then he decided to undergo detailed medical examinations. His family took him abroad where he had different tests. The results showed he had male chromosomes.

“The news came as a shock. I was literally devastated,” he said.
He went ahead with the operation, describing it as “painful” but that he “pulled through.”

But he’s been jumping hurdles since his return to Saudi Arabia. After taking his medical reports to the authorities to prove that he underwent a sex change operation and he was no longer a woman, the hospital took his papers and asked him to wait while it formed a committee of doctors who would confirm the sex change.

“I’ve been waiting for this committee to form ever since,” he said.

Slow procedures

He visited the Civil Status Department in 2012 and this time he was referred to King Faisal Hospital in Makkah and later to King Abdulaziz Hospital where he was told the file had been misplaced. They asked him to submit all the documents again, the newspaper reported.

“I felt very desperate because nobody cared about me and the difficult things I was going through. The procedures were very slow,” he said, calling upon authorities to expedite the processing of his papers and form a medical committee so that he can lead a normal life. “I’m in dire need of a psychological rehabilitation program, which can help me cope with my new life,” he said.

In response to the man’s complaints, the newspaper spoke to Makkah Health Affairs spokesman Bassam Maghrabi and asked him about the case.

Maghrabi confirmed that they received a letter on Feb. 13, 2013, from the man and they formed a committee specifically to discuss the case. He said the man did not go to the hospital where he was referred. He added that the case was being reviewed by the Health Affairs department.

(With the Saudi Gazette)

 

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