Home english Egyptian transgender woman faces uphill battle against stigma

Egyptian transgender woman faces uphill battle against stigma

56

Farida Aly spent decades performing blood tests, brain scans and personality tests beforedoctors issued the needed medical reports to allow her toundergo gender reassignment surgery.
Born Mohamed Ramadan Aly, the transgender woman is one ofthe few in the conservative Muslim country able to confront what doctors diagnosed as gender dysphoria.
“I had a life, and I lost it completely. But I made my decision to be the person I wanted to be,” said Aly, 50.
While the gender reassignment procedure is legal, it is along and complicated process that is highly stigmatized.
Discrimination against LGBT+ groups is rife in Egypt, withgay and transgender people facing instances of assault andtorture, according to Human Rights Watch.
The issue was brought to public attention earlier this yearwhen a prominent Egyptian actor revealed on a TV talk show thathis son was transgender, and expressed support for him.
Aly, however, was abandoned by her family and left joblessafter extended medical leave, and has had to move to a new townwhere only a handful of people know about her past.
“Our society will never accept my situation, or won’t acceptit easily. Society can accept the opposite of my situation butnever my own, I have no idea why. It’s just this rule engravedin their minds,” she said.
The former teacher now tutors children in the neighbourhoodto earn a living, but her dream is to one day get married andhave a child.
“I had a dream that I had a girl and I raised her, brushedher hair and changed her clothes. I named her Alaa, and untilthis day I am referred to as Um Alaa (mother of Alaa).
“Nobody in the neighbourhood calls me by my (first) name,they call me Um Alaa,” she said.(