7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Zainab hopes to be declared a man

A MEDICAL examiner will today submit his report on a Bahraini woman fighting for the right to be legally recognised as a man.

It is the final hurdle in Zainab Abdulhafed Rabie's long-running court battle to be certified as a man.

Her lawyer Faouzia Janahi is now urging the High Civil Court to fast-track the case and reach a verdict as soon as possible.

She says that since her client underwent her final operation in Thailand in December, her life in Bahrain had become even more difficult than before.

"She can't even leave the house without getting into trouble or people stopping her when she has to show her ID," said Ms Janahi.

"She can't enter any Arab country because her ID says she is a woman, while she looks like a man."

The GDN previously reported that Ms Rabie had already undergone operations to change her sex in Thailand and wants to officially change her name to Hussain.

Ms Janahi presented a medical report to Bahrain's High Civil Court in December last year, but the case was adjourned for a legal medical officer to perform his own examination.

Ms Rabie, 34, underwent an eight-hour operation at Yanhee Hospital, Bangkok, in December.

The procedure was paid for by the Bahrain government, which gave her BD5,000 to cover the operation, accommodation, plane ticket and food.

She was also provided with a court order that explained her condition, which she could produce if immigration officers stopped her on her way home.

Ms Rabie had already undergone a mastectomy and her lawyer said the latest medical report from Thailand certifies that she is now a man.

The medical report, prepared by Yanhee Hospital plastic and reconstructive surgeon Sukit Worathamrong, states that Ms Rabie does not have any female sex organs.

However, under Bahraini law, she will continue to be classed as a woman until a court rules otherwise.

"The legal medical examiner will submit his report on Zainab and we will have a look at it and decide if we agree," said Ms Janahi.

"We have to have a close look at it to see whether it is in our favour or not."

Ms Janahi said her client continued to face problems, most recently when she tried to visit Egypt.

"She recently went to Egypt to carry out a check-up and she was denied entry at Cairo International Airport, as her passport said she was a woman instead of a man," she said.

"She cannot practice her normal life without being stopped and asked for an explanation. We hope her case is speeded up, but we are expecting the final hearing to be held sometime during the summer."

Ms Rabie was born with a condition known as intersexuality, a term used to describe someone born with a sexual anomaly.

She found out about it only when she got married at the age of 25 and was later divorced by her husband.

Ms Rabie knew from the age of eight that she was different from other girls, but her family never noticed anything unusual.

It was not only until she reached 31 that she decided to seek legal advice. [email protected]

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