Gulf authorities to pay for gender reassignment

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Bahraini government has agreed to pay for a trans person to undergo gender reassignment surgery in Thailand.

According to daily English-language newspaper Gulf Daily News, 32-year old Hussain Rabie is due to fly out to Thailand on Thursday to undergo female-to-male surgery on Sunday.

Rabie, who is partially blind in his right eye, hopes to return to represent the Bahrain Disabled Sports Federation in the men’s shot put and discus.

His trip to Thailand is being fully funded by the Bahrain Health Ministry and he also has a court order to protect him if he is questioned by immigration officers.

The Health Ministry will pay more than BD5,000 (£6,400) for his operation, accommodation, plane ticket, food and drink while he is there.

When he returns, his final hurdle will be the Bahraini courts, where he is battling for the right to be recognised as a man and officially change his name to Hussain.

“I am so happy that the ministry offered to pay for the operation,” Rabie told Gulf Daily News yesterday.

“I was very concerned as to how I would manage – I didn’t know where to get that amount from.”

He said that he wrote to former Health Minister Dr Nada Haffadh asking for support, but could not believe it when the ministry responded.

“I would like to thank the ministry for their help and support.”

He added: “I am still not officially Hussain, but hopefully after the operation I will get a court order stating that I am a male and then all my identity cards and passport will change and I will officially be a man.”

As a result of his decision to have the operation, he has now been suspended from his job as an operator at GPIC, been shunned by peers, separated from his husband and stopped from going to the gym.

However, he said although society is slowly starting to accept his situation after he went public, people are still opposed to him having the operation.

“People are still not aware of the kind of surgery being carried out,” he said.

“The community accepts homosexuals, so why are they against me?

“What they 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.”

Rabie first approached a lawyer in August 2005 and legal papers calling for him to be legally recognised as a man were filed in June last year.

He submitted medical reports from Al Khalidi Medical Centre, Jordan, Ibn Al Nafees Hospital and Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Centre, Bahrain, at two court hearings last year.

The High Civil Court also ordered for a medical report to be compiled by a Public Prosecution doctor.

That report states that he is suffering from a gender identity problem and has no female reproductive organs.

He has had a mastectomy and will travel for Thailand for his final operation.