A transgender woman from Israel alleges she was barred from entering Egypt because her passport still lists her as ‘male.’
Atalia Israeli-Nevo, 27, wanted to travel to the Sinai Peninsula last week. However, upon her arrival at the border, she was stopped by Egyptian officials. They kept her waiting for three hours before denying her entry to the country. She was told that she’d have to get her passport amended if she wanted to enter Egypt.
Israeli-Nevo took to Facebook to share her story.
Israeli-Nevo and her travel companion returned to the Israeli side of the crossing. Authorities there refused to refund the transit tax she paid to cross the border. She describes the attitude of one of the guards as ‘dismissive.’
In Israeli-Nevo’s opinion, there is no reason for a foreign country to know her gender. Thus, she believes gender markers on passports should be removed entirely.
‘Our bodies are exposed to violence every moment,’ Israeli-Nevo wrote in her 5 September Facebook post. ‘No reason our certificates will expose us to violence [and vulnerability]. It also connects to the increasing Israeli policy of difficulties, [like] repression of activists and different people in the Israeli border.’
‘The examination of the case shows that the author’s claims are against border control in Egypt, as there was no problem at border control in Israel because passage is not dependent on the gender or clothing of the traveler,’ the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority said in a statement.
The Authority also noted their employees are prohibited from utilizing personal judgement in cases such as this and must obey the law.
The Egyptian government continues to imprison LGBTI citizens as a crackdown on freedoms. In Egypt, there is no distinction between being gay and being trans.