Three Emirati women who underwent hormonal and surgical operations in Europe to alter their gender have been denied a bid to legally change their status in the UAE.
The request had been turned down by the UAE’s Federal Appeal Court. It was also rejected by a medical committee appointed by the court.
According to the women’s lawyer, Ali al-Mansouri, the basis behind opting for a surgical change was not an ‘elective’ one but a ‘corrective’ decision.
According to him, his clients grew up possessing a man’s physical appearance. As such, they wanted to correct their reproductive organs, reported The National.
In September of 2016, the UAE had passed a law which permits sex-change only if an individual’s gender is unclear, or if their physical features do not reflect their physiological and genetic characteristics.
Speaking to the newspaper, al-Mansouri said: “I have official government medical reports for the health authorities that recommend that they undergo sex change operations.” As of yet, the court’s reasoning behind declining the request has not been released.
According to the lawyer, he sees that the court’s rejection may have to do with the sensitivity of the subject. “I believe that the judicial authorities are worried about opening the door to sex change operations, but this is unacceptable,” he said.
Recognizing their gender in the UAE is not the only predicament at hand. Al-Mansouri said that his clients are unable to secure a job or find appropriate healthcare due to the contradicting gender statuses between their official documents and their physical appearances.
However, the lawyer explained that “one of the entities made an exception for one of my clients but it has been a traumatizing experience.”
Al-Mansouri will be a requesting an appeal to the court’s decision. “They are not and cannot lead normal lives so long as the state recognizes them as women but they are in essence men.”
“All we ask for is that their female names be changed in the government national registry. They have already undergone the surgery so naturally they must have their names and gender changed on their official documents,” he added.