An Emirati woman filed a lawsuit with the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance to obtain an order allowing her to undergo a sex-change operation, her lawyer said yesterday.
Ali Al Mansouri told Gulf News the 29-year-old woman always felt strongly that she was not the gender she physically appeared to be.
“Ever since she was three, the woman felt instead that she is actually a male. She would have an intense desire to have a male body and to be accepted by others as a male and would feel her true identity is male,” Al Mansouri said.
He added the woman’s feeling that her body does not reflect her true gender caused severe distress, anxiety, and depression. “She has been undergoing physical and psychological care since 2012 and a medical commission had recommended that she undergo a sex-change surgery.”
The court set September 28 to look into the case, in what is believed to be a first in the history of the country.
The UAE’s Medical Liability Law, issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan last month and took effect early this month immediately after publishing in the official gazette, allows gender reassignment surgery.
“The surgical procedure [or 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,” according to the law, which is also in keeping with Sharia.