Tuesday, November 30, 2004
His family spurned him and applied for the father's estate to be redivided, taking into account his new sex. "They filed a suit even though I am still considered a man and am legally male in Saudi Arabia. I do not know what to do or how to change my sex legally," he said.
Changing sexual identity is not unknown in Saudi Arabia, where the operation is referred to as a sex correction. Cases are studied first by religious scholars, who decide whether surgery is religiously permissible. It is available only to those with an "inter-sex" condition: people born with some characteristics of the opposite sex.
This is, perhaps, the most powerful anecdote I have ever seen that supports the proposition that people who medically alter their gender do so out of compulsion, rather than out of preference or ideology. While it is a difficult to imagine anybody changing their gender on a whim [but see Steel Beach, by John Varley, for a different view - ed.], if a Saudi man goes through with a sex-change operation, you know he really needed to do it.
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