Inside the Middle East
October 3, 2010
Posted: 1230 GMT

Two teenage women in Bahrain planning to undergo sex change operations are set to launch legal bids to have their status recognized as men, reported The Gulf Daily News.

The newspaper conducted an interview with Fawzia Janahi, reported to be the only lawyer in the Arab world specializing in transsexual cases, who said the two teens approached her for legal advice.

Janahi won two similar cases in 2005 and 2008; following these successes she says she was approached by a flood of people in the Gulf complaining of being in the wrong body, according to the paper.

Transsexualism remains an incredibly sensitive and taboo subject in most of the Middle East.

Posted by:
Filed under: Bahrain

Share this on:
Tina Russell   October 3rd, 2010 8:17 pm ET

I’m rather surprised and angry that you would describe the two young Bahraini men as “women.” The English-language press as a whole has long acknowledged the need to refer to transsexuals with respect and dignity by using the gender with which they identify; the Associated Press and The New York Times both codify this in their style manuals. (See the GLAAD Media Reference Guide: )

When you refer to a transgender person using the wrong gender, you’re essentially saying that their gender identity is illegitimate. That is exactly the sort of thinking that, when spread by major media outlets, puts transgender people at risk for discrimination and violence.

John A   October 4th, 2010 5:38 am ET


Finally a Middle East subject which you will have acquired knowledge and experience. Would you like to share your insight on transsexualism in Israel?

Francesca   October 4th, 2010 10:33 am ET

I ment, "ordinary god fearing Palestinians"

Eddie   October 4th, 2010 10:42 am ET

Again Israel destroys the peace process and CNN want to discuss transsexuals. What in earth...?

John A, If Miriam also likes to be known as Filipe, thats his/hers choice. We live in liberal times, so don't poke fun.

All I want to know is should I use the name Miriam or Filipe? Or possibly a hyphenated version Miri-Fili?

Please let me know so that I can address you respectfully on this blog and in accordance with your orientation. Miri-Fili, if your happy, I'm pleased for you.

University Rector   October 4th, 2010 10:58 am ET

My young students tell me that most Israeli transsexuals like to adopt names like Filipe or Ariely. These are foreign sounding names in Israel and hence they hope they will appear exotic and seductive.

What is the most popular name for Bahraini transsexuals, do they also live under the guise of Filipe or Ariely?

It must be heart breaking for Palestinian families who struggle to feed their families under Israels illegal blockade, when they look over Israels Gaza wall and see Israeli transsexuals skipping around in swimming pools without a care in the world.

miriam   October 5th, 2010 7:27 am ET

Living in the modern world requires coping with modern challenges.

On the one hand, having access to western technologies has improved the lives of many in the Middle East and brought them closer to the West.

On the other hand, there are challenges that have to be overcome when dealing with other Western trends, such as sexual orientation and other liberal attitudes.

Audrey   January 8th, 2013 2:12 pm ET

@Miriam and Tina.

I don't understand why you bring gay and lesbian issues to the discussion. Additionally, being transsexual or transgender is not a sexual orientation issue much like your skin color has nothing to do with your sexuality.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

This blog has now been archived and commenting has been switched off. Visit the Inside the Middle East site for news, views and video from across the region.

Read more about CNN's special reports policy