Two trans women arrested in Kuwait

Kuwait continues with 'morality' campaigns that also target LGBT people, and in particular the trans community, with at least 15 transgender women now imprisoned

Two trans women arrested in Kuwait
28 November 2012

Two trans women were arrested today (28 November) in Kuwait.

The two, described by Al-Watan daily as ‘cross dressers’, were driving their car, but a police patrol became suspicious and tailed them.

The two tried to escape, by switching to different streets and increased their speed but were chased and apprehended.

The police ‘figured out’ they were in fact men [probably via id] and proceeded to arrest and send them to detention.

On Sunday (25 November) Al-Rai daily reported another case related to LGBT Kuwaitis, saying that two ‘tomboyish’ women assaulted another woman in a café in a Mall located in Salmiya, Kuwait city.

The two women were alleged to have harassed the woman, asking her to do ‘obscenities’, and when she refused the paper reported that the two proceeded to physically assault and abuse her.

The paper cited a ‘security source’ who said the two women literally attacked her and threw her to the ground, and ran away after the police was called in, but said they are looking for security camera footage and speaking to witnesses in order to arrest them.

However, a Gay Star News source in Kuwait interviewed one of the security men in the mall that witnessed the event and he reported a different story.

The two were walking when a woman in the sitting in a café called them derogatory words and laughed at the way they looked with her friend.

The two got furious and answered back.

The lady sitting in the café threw at them cutlery which they threw back at her.

The lady then stepped out of the café, approached the two and start swearing and bullying them. One of the two tried to push her away and she fell to the ground.

All this started a commotion with people shouting call the police, the two got frightened and ran away.

A transgender activist in Kuwait told Gay Star News: ‘The media in Kuwait is trying to create a moral panic about LGBT by distorting facts or even fabricating them.

‘This is just another attempt to use LGBT issues in the ongoing battle between the government and the Islamist opposition.

‘The government want to show that they are in control and just as “moral” as the Islamists so the use as scapegoat.

‘It is all about their self-interests not the people of Kuwait.

‘Meanwhile there is no recognition of our existence, both the government and opposition use LGBT issues as tools to attack each other, while refusing to recognize the rights of LGBT community in Kuwait.

‘Because of shame, religion, culture or any other excuse that they can think of’. 

This brings the total known number of transgender women being held in prison awaiting trial to fifteen.

The arrests of the transgender women is part of an on-going ‘morality’ campaign which also target lesbian, gay and transgender people.

The situation for LGBT people, and in particular transgender people has been progressively deteriorating since 2007, with this year in particular witnessing mass arrests.

On 10 December 2007, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a bill proposed by Islamic MPs that amended article 198 of penal code so that anyone ‘imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex’ could be jailed for up to a year or fined up to 1,000 dinars ($3,500 €2,800).

This law is causing substantial persecution and misery to transgender people in Kuwait which was slammed in a Human Rights Watch report published on 15 January this year criticizing arrests, torture and abuse of transgender people in the country.

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