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13 July 2024

Saudi woman-turned-man struggles for recognition


A Saudi woman who became a man after a sex correction operation has yet to be recognized as a male by the government nearly three years after the surgery.

The man, in his 30s, said he had undergone a sex-correction surgery three years ago after doctors determined that he was more a male than a female.

The unnamed man from the western town of Makkah told ‘Okaz’ daily that he underwent medical examination at a government hospital after the operation to verify his sex and that he is still awaiting response from the government personnel department to recognize him as a man and have him officially registered as a male.

“I am still waiting for their response.

“I am passing through a difficult psychological state because of this and I urge them to urgently tackle my problem,” he said.

Okaz quoted health department spokesman Bassam Al Maghrbi as saying the “woman” sent a letter asking for recording her as a man and that a medical committee had been formed to examine her again before taking a final decision.

“But the patient did not turn up again and we tried to contact her many times.

“We call on her to come to hospital for a check-up so a decision will be taken regarding her sex.”

Despite social restrictions, Saudi Arabia has reported hundreds of sex correction operations performed at authorized hospitals.

A well-known Saudi surgeon said last year he had performed almost 450 operations over the past 30 years to change the sex of patients suffering from gender problems, including three women who became men after marriage.

Professor Yassir Saleh Jamal, director of the sex correction surgical centre at the King Abdul Aziz Hospital in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah, said he had refused to perform operations on many persons seeking to change their gender although they do not have any sex problems.

He said his refusal was because such operations on persons not suffering from gender problems are against Islam, adding that most of those persons are women seeking to be converted into men so they will get a bigger share of their family inheritance.

Dr Jamal said three of those who underwent these operations were Saudi women aged between 18 and 21 years and who suffered from general problems after marriage.

[Image via Shutterstock]