Transgender in Egypt: Gender Identity Disorder is brain defect

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With recent discussions about psychological disorders, intersex and deviant behavior, Egyptians are not aware of the phenomenon of so-called sex reassignment surgery or Gender Identity Disorder (GID), the distress a person experiences with the gender they were born with.

There are those who accuse people experiencing these phenomena of simply being “perverts,” but the situation is in fact completely different. While the “pervert” does not resort to sex change operations, those who do are people born with an imbalance due to a hormonal disorder in the brain which afflicts the child before birth. With regards to intersex persons, these children are born with clear congenital defects, in which there is a reconciliation between the mind and the body, which makes an operation easy to perform.

Doctors assert that GID persons have the right to undergo transgender operations but the government refuses to legalize them. The phenomenon is also surrounded by social stigma and Egypt’s al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s most prominent religious institution, does not grant approval for patients to undergo these operations.

In a series of forthcoming articles published over separate days, Al-Masry Al-Youm, the sister Arabic-language publication of Egypt Independent, opens up the gender identity disorder subject to delve deep into the psychological suffering transponders usually go through, social rejection, medical perspective and Islam’s stance on gender identity.

Sexual disease consultant: GID is a brain disorder

Consultant of urology and venereology at the Kasr Al-Aini hospital and the Nasser Institute Mohamed Abdel Rasoul said that Gender Identity Disorder is believed to be a psychiatric illness. However, after scientific studies, it was discovered that it is a brain defect caused by an intrauterine problem or hormonal disorders to which the fetus is subjected before birth.

Rasoul explained that this appears in the child after birth, when it reaches the age of three. The child’s behavior changes and it feels that it is the opposite sex, and behaves like it in various aspects of life, from the style of playing to the way to use the toilet. The mother may try to change those habits, but she usually fails because they are fixed in the child’s brain.

“The period of adolescence is the most difficult period a GID patient experiences in his life because his mind completely rejects his body. As for the surgery, the issue is different, meaning that the surgeon does not intervene in the system of diagnosis and determining the type of treatment,” Rasoul said.

He explained that “the only body entrusted with the decision of the surgery is a special committee [the Gender Reassignment Committee] on the disease that began its work in 2009 […] but stopped 4 years ago [in 2013],” he said.

“The committee was composed of the committee chairman, two psychiatrists, a professor of andrology, a professor of genetics from the National Research Center, and a Sheikh from Dar Al-Iftaa.”

He went on to say that “the committee was studying each case carefully and examined the tests of hormones and radiation images, and the psychological report and everything related to the case. If the committee approved the validity of all these papers, then the approval for the surgery should be by consensus, and the decision is made and approved by the committee, after which comes the role of the surgeon,” Rasoul said.

“In the first period, we were approving the surgery only for intersex and not GID patients, including every patient who has a clear problem, whether hormonal or organic. For example, a patient with a penis but with female genitalia inside, such cases has no problems in [getting approval] for surgery and the procedure is successful, after which the patient lives a normal life,” he explained.

Both intersex and GID cases were introduced to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate between 2009 and 2013, Rasould went on, adding that “the procedures were being performed on intersex cases, and were successful at a very large rate, which encouraged GID patients.”

He also noted that it was cheaper to do it in Egypt than for example in Thailand, which was, according to Rasoul, “almost the only country competent to conduct that type of surgery at the time.”

“The most difficult decision to be taken by the patient is the decision of the surgery because it is very complex, and is conducted from three to four .

Psychologists and sociologists: beware of misconduct in education and parenting

Psychologists and sociologists Al-Masry Al-Youm spoke with warned against misconduct in the method of parenting and education during childhood so as not to make one’s children be struck by GID. If parents do not beware, they will be forced to make their children undergo surgery or risk that they commit suicide when they grow older.

Professor of Psychiatry at Al-Azhar University Hashim Bahari said that the disease has no clear cause. It is a change in the brain or social changes due to parenting, such as misconduct in parents’ education.
He explained that there are some families that prefer to have a boy, which make them treat their daughter like a boy. She may be raised like a boy completely.

Bahari said that the deterioration of relations between parents or divorce may affect the child’s psyche and make them deny his oppressed gender, whether male or female.

“The real problem of patients with GID lies in the brain only. He has a male body but with the mind and feelings of a female, and vice versa. The patient is not considered a pervert, as seen by some, but is suffering from a sexual disorder, meaning that he defines himself as belonging to the other sex, and therefore the male is attracted to the same gender and vice versa, which makes some interpret it as a pervert case,” Bahari said.
“The society meets this with denial based on its customs and traditions, and even the rejection of these patients, who continue [to suffer from] their illness for many years, and undergo treatment, which leads them over time to depression, especially with the failure of psychological treatment, and may end with suicide,” he added.

Bahari stressed that GID patients often suffer psychologically since birth and through a sad childhood and the inability to play with children of the same sex. In adolescence they may suffer depression and wish to commit suicide because it is the only solution to escape.

He pointed out that the role of the psychiatrist is to organize a program of treatment and subject the patients to it for two years. Two situations would come out of this; to convince them to accept that they are in fact not GID patients and does not need this transformation, and, if this fails, the patients can choose to undergo surgery, especially after being partially removed from all the surrounding effects.

Bahari explained that the program is divided into two stages, each of which is a full year long. During the first, the patients will be accustomed to dealing with the community in their sex assigned at birth, and in the second stage, the patients will be treated as the opposite sex that they wish to switch to.

Then the doctor decides whether or not the patient needs the surgery. The role of psychiatry does not stop at the pre-surgery stage, but extends beyond the completion of the surgery and the patient’s transformation and after, Bahari said.

He added that the surgical procedure brings out the patient with a new status and a new gender for the community to deal with, and sometimes the patient exaggerates his new role to attract attention.

Bahari stressed that despite all of this, transgender persons are faced with societal rejection even in societies that accept this type of surgeries. The patients thus enter into a spiral of psychological and social troubles, as well as the deformity in a part of their body, and find themselves unable to adapt to their new situation.

On her part, sociology professor Thuraya Abdel Jawad said that GID patients in Egyptian society suffer from severe restrictions, particularly since Arab culture has two different concepts for masculinity and femininity and how to deal with each.

Jawad explained that the attitude towards women in Arab societies is always linked to pornography and shame, while masculinity is linked to role models and wellness. Therefore, when Arab society describes a woman with good manner, it says that she is “equal to one hundred men”.

“Whenever there is cultural and social awareness, the more they are considered patients with hormonal dysfunction, the more society views them as natural. But with poverty, ignorance and lack of education, with a degrading view of women and biased view of masculinity, then the society rejects this illness,” she said.

“But in the developed societies, the decision of the procedure is the patient’s own, and it is not easy for the person to take such decisions and s/he is allowed to undergo the operation easily because they have a strong awareness. But here our religious culture which is entrenched in our Arab societies prohibits any change to God’s creation,” Jawad said.

She also pointed out that one of the great paradoxes in Arab societies is that if a woman transformed to a man, he does not face opposition from society, which is contrary to what often happens when a man turns into a woman.

This was reflected in the film El-Sada El-Regal (Gentlemen), Jawad said. When the heroine changed her sex, her mother received the news with rejoice, while the opposite happened when a man changed his sex. This is because women bring shame, Jawad noted.

“The perception of those patients is related to the culture of society, the degree of religiosity, education, and the complexity of the perception of sex. Our society [rejects] the transgender procedure completely and I remember a medicine student who turned into a female and his faculty has not recognized her so far,” she explained.

“In our society, most problems are centered around sex, and all this causes patients with GID to have a negative societal culture with rejection and non-acceptance from the family and society,” she said.

 

Source  :   Egypt Independent

 

Transgender in Egypt: Islam’s stance on sex reassignment surgery

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With recent discussions about psychological disorders, intersex and deviant behavior, Egyptians are not aware of the phenomenon of so-called sex reassignment surgery or Gender Identity Disorder (GID), the distress a person experiences with the gender they were born with.

There are those who accuse people experiencing these phenomena of simply being “perverts,” but the situation is in fact completely different. While the “pervert” does not resort to sex change operations, those who do are people born with an imbalance due to a hormonal disorder in the brain which afflicts the child before birth. With regards to intersex persons, these children are born with clear congenital defects, in which there is a reconciliation between the mind and the body, which makes an operation easy to perform.

Doctors assert that GID persons have the right to undergo transgender operations but the government refuses to legalize them. The phenomenon is also surrounded by social stigma and Egypt’s al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s most prominent religious institution, does not grant approval for patients to undergo these operations.

In a series of forthcoming articles published over separate days, Al-Masry Al-Youm, the sister Arabic-language publication of Egypt Independent, opens up the gender identity disorder subject to delve deep into the psychological suffering transponders usually go through, social rejection, medical perspective and Islam’s stance on gender identity.

Gender Reassignment Committee to resume work with Dar Al-Iftaa 

Head of the Gender Reassignment Committee of Dar Al-Ifta ( [Egyptian state-run Islamic institution assigned to issue religious edicts]  with the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Osama Abdel Hai said he has

.headed the committee for about four years

The committee’s work ceased after two years because the Dar Al-Iftaa representative objected to include his name in

.the committee despite not attending due to his work, Hai said

He added that most of the members of the committee worked on a part time basis. Approvals were granted by consensus, which became a problem.

Hai explained that an agreement was recently reached with the Director of the Office of the Grand Mufti of Egypt Magdy Ashour that the representative of Dar Al-Iftaa shall not attend, provided that each case is sent to the Dar Al-Iftaa representative for approval.

Hai warned against undergoing the procedure without the approval of the committee, because the approval entails procedures to direct the patient to the Justice Ministry and Civil Status Authority to issue a new ID card with the new identity.

He stressed that the procedure must be conducted in large government hospitals, after the approval of the committee, because the procedure without the approval of the committee makes the steps that come after the operation difficult for the patient.

Regarding the correct steps to take to undergo the procedure, Hai said that the patient has to submit his papers to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, and then be subjected to tests and checkups, and then be checked by a doctor of urology and venerology.

The patient should then be checked by a psychiatrist, and has to be subjected to psychological treatment for at least two years without interruption, in order to coexist and reconcile the mind with the body, and try during the two years to live a normal life. If the brain do not adapt to the body then the procedure would be of benefit to the patient because most young people suffering from GID commits suicide, Hai said.

He added that it is not as easy as some may think, because the transgender person must take hormone therapy, in order to change the nature of the body and conform with his new identity, and then be rehabilitated to be able to conduct surgery to change the genitals.

Hai pointed out that studies have shown that the GID is an organic mental disorder and not only psychological, or educational or a defect in parenting during childhood. There is a disease in the organic part and psychological part of the body, and parents must take these things very seriously.

Sheikh Majdi Ashour, academic advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, stressed that it is not possible to take the opinion of religion on this thorny issue in general, as each case has its own conditions which cannot be generalized to other cases.

“There is a big difference between patients with GID and patients of intersex. For example a girl with male genitals and vice versa; here the fatwa is easier because the disease is organic and very clear. But in GID, the disorder is more psychological than organic, as it is the tendencies and desires of a girl to be a man and vice versa. So opinions of specialists of andrology, psychiatry, and gynaecology must be heard first, and then after hearing the professor of religion, who can then begin to apply the jurisprudence and standards according to the opinions of all the above,” Ashour said.

“The conversion of sex is very serious, and can not be approved according to tendencies and desires only, and needs a committee of all the specialties that I mentioned. And indeed we had a member in the [Gender Reassignment] Committee of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate.The committee is currently stalled for more than a year because we withdrew the representative of Dar Al-Iftaa, and addressed the Grand Mufti to address the Health Ministry so that the committee be subordinate to it [Dar Al-Iftaa] to impose more discipline,” Ashour said.

In one episode of his “Humanity before Religiousness” program, Sheikh al-Habib Ali Al-Jifri stressed that the disease of GID is a type of affliction. He added that this disease has become an issue because it has become subject to a kind of guidance and organization through global pressure groups. He added that there is a need to clarify the correct treatment.

Jifri added that people, in dealing with GID patients, have become divided into two camps: one who says that it is about personal freedom and demands that it be legitimized and made available. The other camp demands that those people be killed and humiliated. However, both parties need to be corrected, according to Jifri.

“A patient with GID – we should all respect his humanity such as anyone who has an affliction like a disability. And he must seek treatment for himself and correct his physical condition if his problem is organic, or psychologically treated if his problem is psychological, and society must help him to overcome this situation,” Jifri said.

“It is wrong of the mother to treat her young son as a girl, so encourage him to dance like girls or allow him to put on makeup, or wear girls’ clothes. It negatively affects the psychological composition, and may lead to disruption of hormones, so he has more female hormones that cause a disturbance in his personality and disorder in his behavior and vice versa for the girl,” he said.

“Some people today try to legitimize homosexuality and copy it to our societies, and this is absolutely forbidden and one of the greatest sins, and enters into the category of those who love to spread obscenity. It is not humanism to accept copying homosexuality or perversion because this is contrary to the human nature created by God, and therefore the difference must be realized between a GID person and the pervertible sexual practices contrary to the nature that God created us,” Jifri said.

 

Source  :  Egypt Independent

SIS refutes New York Times’ report on Egyptian Leaders’ acceptance of Jerusalem move

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Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) on Saturday denied the veracity of a report by The New York Times claiming that Egyptian leaders have accepted the decision by US President Donald Trump to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

The report, published on Saturday 6 January, titled “Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move” by David D. Kirkpatrick, the Times’ international correspondent based in London, said the newspaper obtained four audio recordings of an alleged Egyptian intelligence officer talking to the hosts of several talk shows in Egypt.

The intelligence officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it.

SIS said in a statement that The Times’ report claims that Kholi is an officer with the Egyptian General Intelligence without presenting its readers with the slightest evidence as to the truth of this piece of information or that a person by this name exists in the first place.

It added that Mofid Fawzy is a journalist who stopped TV presenting years ago contrary to the claim made in the Times’ report.

Also, SIS said that Saeed Hassaseen whose talk show stopped several weeks before the Jerusalem decision and who does not currently present any other TV show. It reported that Hassaseen denied that he received a call on Jerusalem, affirming that he does not know at all a man by the name of Ashraf al-Kholi.

The renowned movie star Yousra has no relation whatsoever to presenting TV talk shows and is working in the movie and acting industry in Egypt and the Arab world as well, a fact Mr. Kirkpatrick should have been aware of given his long stay in Egypt, the SIS statement added.

It said that Yousra denied knowing someone by the name Ashraf al-Kholi, or that she discussed with anyone the issue of Jerusalem and that she has spoken or expressed views on political subjects to any media outlet, adding that she was not present in Egypt during the period specified in the report.

She further announced that she will seek legal action for bringing her name into these alleged leaked audio recordings as this amounts to an affront to her reputation as a big movie star.

Azmi Megahed, the fourth name in the Times report, denied knowing a man by the name of Ashraf al-Kholi, the newspaper said.

The Times’ report contains allegations regarding Egypt’s position on the Jerusalem issue mentioned in the so-called “audio recordings.”

It is inappropriate for The New York Times, a reputable newspaper, to publish such allegations, SIS said.

Egypt’s positions on international issues are not derived from alleged leaks from an anonymous source, the SIS statement said, adding that Egypt’s positions are conveyed by the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and in official statements.

All of the entities in charge have expressed, in word and deed, the inalienable position on Jerusalem in the United Nations and other international organizations with disregard for the threats of the US Permanent Representative in the UN to cut aid to countries including Egypt over UN Jerusalem vote, the statement added.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

 

Source  :  Egypt Independent