New UAE law allows gender reassignment surgery



ABU DHABI // A new Medical Liability Law was enacted to allow gender reassignment surgery, which was previously difficult.

The law states that the surgical procedures “by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of their identified gender” is permitted if it is “part of a treatment for gender dysphoria in transgender people, as advised by a medical commission to be set up for this purpose”.

Before the new law, a fatwa issued by Awqaf – the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments – said such operations were permitted only for those whose “physical features may be different to their physiological and biological characteristics, such as a person with male features who is in reality female and vice versa”.

The fatwa applied to “people with both sex organs or those with unclear features that don’t indicate a gender”.

It said this applied to anomalies that were “considered medical conditions”.

It said the gender correction surgery was “acceptable because it is treatment for a medical condition and not a deliberate modification of God’s creation”.

The operation was permissible “if medical professionals are convinced that the individual is in fact a male or female, and the authorities have all agreed”.

Although there was no law criminalising a sex-change operation, it was allowed only within the framework issued by Awqaf.

“Our laws are based on Sharia,” said Salm Al Kithiri, an Emirati lawyer. “If a person has both organs and one is hidden, for example, they have a right to undergo a sex-change operation. But a complete woman with female organs wanting a sex-change operation was unacceptable.”

Ali Al Mansoori, the lawyer representing a 29-year old Emirati woman who wants the surgery, said that before the new law gender reassignment surgery was difficult for individuals with gender dysphoria – not because it was illegal but because there was no law governing it.

salnuwais@thenational.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

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THE BIO

Favourite car: Koenigsegg Agera RS or Renault Trezor concept car.

Favourite book: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes or Red Notice by Bill Browder.

Biggest inspiration: My husband Nik. He really got me through a lot with his positivity.

Favourite holiday destination: Being at home in Australia, as I travel all over the world for work. It’s great to just hang out with my husband and family.

 

 

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Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

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