Lebanon Pioneers In The Middle East: Allows Trans People To Legally Change Gender

In the grand scheme of things, today was quite a bad day for Lebanese law. Letting a confessed terrorist go out on bail is not only a mark of shame for the entire country, but for any legal system that allows such a thing to happen. But this is not about Michel Samaha.
This is about a lesser publicized decision in Lebanese courts today that has set motion in the region’s most liberal countries to strengthen its role as such: changing one’s gender can be legally done in Lebanon because it pertains to personal liberties, as per a Lebanese court.
Published in The Legal Agenda earlier today, the details are as follows.

In 2014, a transman submitted an official request to Lebanese courts in order to legally change his gender from female to male. The court at the time refused. So this man took it to Lebanon’s Appeal Court (Este2naf) which took an unprecedented and saw that the change in question was not only allowed, but it fell within the rights of the man at hand, saying – and I quote: “A person’s right to receive treatment for ailments both physical and mental is fundamental.”

Lebanon’s Appeal Court decision comes after consulting with experts on the matter of sexual identity and sexual disorders, psychologists and psychiatrists, after which it reached the aforementioned conclusion noting that “the treatment the plaintiff went through, both hormonal and surgical, is his right as a human being and cannot be taken away.”

Of course, this does not make the decision final as Lebanon’s Supreme Court can still nullify it, as they did with the infamous Captagon decision several months ago. But this precedence in question is one of which I believe we as Lebanese should be proud.

Why? Because we are the only country in the region as of now where Trans rights have risen to such prominence, and have even reached legal victories.

Because even with our dysfunctional parliament that can’t legalize to protect the citizens it’s supposed to govern, our legal system has taken it on itself to try and do so in some aspects, and it’s doing so as the best countries in the world would do. 

There’s a long way to go still.

While this is indeed great, it remains an isolated court ruling that, in order to become law, has to be passed by parliament into one, and we all know how good our parliament is at passing laws, let alone controversial one. 

We have huge portions in our country whose rights are decimated. Our women are still fighting for their rights. Gay people are still fighting for their rights. Any minority that is not stereotypical Lebanese male is fighting for its right, but this is a victory to one of those minorities and as such it’s a victory for them all.
There’s a long way to go when it comes to changing stereotypes too. I can imagine the many rolling their eyes as they are reading these lines. The notion that individual rights are not a matter of collective opinion is paramount and in my opinion should be the law of the land everywhere and anywhere.

But today, despite all the negatives, this is a tiny beam of hope in a land that is going backward day by day. So maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for civility in the jungle after all. 

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4 thoughts on “Lebanon Pioneers In The Middle East: Allows Trans People To Legally Change Gender

  1. I would just add that Lebanese men are also fighting for their rights like us. Stereotypical Lebanese men aren’t getting a free ride in this country either. Electricity, garbage and corruption doesn’t discriminate between sexes .

    Reply
  2. At Make Away those issues arent just for typical cis straight Lebanese Men, those are everyone issues but in general cis straight Lebanese get all the privilege I remember living in a Shia area and if you didnt talk or act like them, or even dress as “Stylish” which i find really silly cause they look like gay pornstars to me…anyways you would eat shit.These Men control Border Control, checkpoints, every section of the Law and Security and if you fail to meet their standards you would end up in shit and they will literally beat you. AlsoCis straight Lebanese men have more systematic power then anyone else, which there is a reason why the minorities don’t have. Oppression is systematic.This is nice but what if it was a Trans Women would they say “No”?I find Lebanon and Iran are having too many parellels which is really scary…I’m afraid Lebanon will become an Islamic State. Thankfully I have moved away from the country and I’m safe. As a femme cis gay Lebanese.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: No, In 2017, Being Gay Is Still Not Legal In Lebanon… But We’re Getting There | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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