Kuwait: Trans women arrested under law which bans ‘imitating the opposite sex’

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More than half a dozen trans women have been arrested in Kuwait for “imitating the opposite sex”, in the past week.

According to the Huffington Post which refers to an Al-Watan daily newspaper report, a woman was arrested in a hairdressers following another client becoming “suspicious” of her gender.

The salon in the Hawally district of Kuwait City had been regularly visited by the trans woman, according to the report, but that another customer had reported her to the police.

The report goes on to say that police officers were despatched to the scene where the woman was arrested.

Following her arrest, the woman was charged with several offences, which included “imitating the opposite sex”, “sexual assault”, and “entering a space dedicated to women only.”

The officers who arrested the woman were said to be “surprised” by her physical appearance.

The woman has reportedly been held in custody and the case has been referred to the Prosecutor General in Kuwait.

A transgender activist NourAnne Belatoui, said that six other trans women were arrested in the previous week, with five still in custody.

Fines were brought in back in 2007, which mean that anybody found guilty of “imitating the opposite sex”, can be subject to large fines and can be jailed for up to a year.

An open letter was also published in the last week from psychologist Dr Eisa Mohammad al-Amer, to Kuwait’s minister of education urging action against LGBT people which he describes as a “negative phenomena”, which “poses a great danger to … young people”.

The director of public health at the country’s health ministry Yousuf Mindkar, said in October that the clinical screening of expatriates entering the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) would be extended to include tests to identify gay people who will then be “barred” from entering the country.