Bahrain continues to criminalize homosexuality, but the government gets down with gender bending. The Middle Eastern nation agreed to pay for Zainab Abdulhafed Rabie’s transition from female to male. From Gulf Daily News:
The Health Ministry will pay more than BD5,000 for her operation, accommodation, plane ticket, food and drink while she is there.
She has also been provided with a court order that explains her condition, which she can produce if she is stopped by immigration officers – something that has happened often in the past.
“I am so happy that the ministry offered to pay for the operation,” she told the GDN yesterday.
Despite their liberal operational-stance, the Bahrainian government does not guarantee Rabie will be legally recognized as a man.
Perhaps the government’s acceptance comes from the fact that the 33-year old’s intersex, not transgender. That is, she exhibits both female and male genital attributes. Rabie’s intersexuality also doesn’t necessitate queer identity – or acceptance. Says Rabie:
What [gays] are doing is legally and religiously prohibited, but I have seen so many people who are leading a normal life and working – everybody around them accepts them. I am medically unfit and I want to correct my problem.
This situation recalls our comparison between trans-conceptions in America, abroad and throughout history, in which we discussed the gendered favoritism among sex changed subjects.