Life after sexual reassignment surgery in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is not known for being tolerant of individuals who express a non-normative gender identity. (AFP/File)
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A man in his 30s who underwent a sex change operation in 2010 complained that he had not received his new ID although he applied for it more than three years ago, The Saudi Gazette reports.
The man preferred to stay anonymous.
He told Okaz/Saudi Gazette his story.
He led a normal life as a girl until he was a sophomore at university. “At that time, I started noticing sweeping changes in my physical features. My body hair grew like men and my voice became harsh. Nothing in me indicated that I was a woman,” he said.
"I lived a difficult life until I graduated from university."
Then he decided to undergo detailed medical examinations. His family took him abroad where he had different tests. The results showed he had male chromosomes.
“The news came as a shock. I was literally devastated,” he said.
However, he decided to undergo the operation, although very painful, and start a new life. “The operation and recovery was painful but I pulled through.”
Just when he thought that he would be able to lead a normal life after a sex change operation, he discovered that the road was full of obstacles.
The first thing he did when he returned to the Kingdom was to take all the medical reports to the pertinent authorities to prove that he underwent a sex change operation and he was no longer a woman.
He went to the Madinah Civil Status Department. Officials there asked him to go the Madinah Health Affairs, which referred him to Al-Noor Specialist Hospital of Makkah.
The hospital took his papers and asked him to wait while it formed a committee of doctors who would confirm the sex change. “I’ve been waiting for this committee to form ever since,” he said.
He visited the Civil Status Department in 2012 and this time he was referred to King Faisal Hospital in Makkah and later to King Abdulaziz Hospital where he was told the file had been misplaced. They asked him to submit all the documents again.
“I felt very desperate because nobody cared about me and the difficult things I was going through. The procedures were very slow,” he said, calling upon authorities to expedite the processing of his papers and form a medical committee so that he can lead a normal life. “I’m in dire need of a psychological rehabilitation program, which can help me cope with my new life,” she said.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette met Makkah Health Affairs spokesman Bassam Maghrabi and asked him about the case. Maghrabi confirmed that they received a letter on Feb. 13, 2013, from the man and they formed a committee specifically to discuss the case. He said the man did not go to the hospital where he was referred. He added that the case was being reviewed by the Health Affairs in Makkah.
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