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De-facto: Yemen’s penal code employs morality laws to effectively criminalize transgender identity and explicitly prohibits queer or sexually non-conforming behaviors. The classification of sexually non-conforming acts as illegal may lead to misapplication against gender non-conforming individuals, driven by prejudiced and/or uninformed beliefs.

“Homosexuality is the contact of one man to another through his posterior; both sodomites whether males or females are punished with whipping of one hundred strokes if not married. It is admissible to reprimand it by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year punishment by stoning to death if married.”

“Lesbianism is intercourse between one female and another. Anyone engaged in this act with another shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years. If the act happens under coercion imprisonment may be expanded to seven years.”

“Disgraceful act in violation of chastity is any act which conflicts with public ethics or losing chastity including undressing and intentional exposure of the genital organs and the saying and gesticulation violating the chastity and contradictory to good conduct.”

“Punishment with imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or a fine is to anyone who commits a disgraceful act in public so that the others see or hear it.”

“Anyone who ever illegitimately manages to obtain a material benefit for himself or for others, through the use of fraudulent means (misappropriation), or by using a false name or false characteristic or capacity shall be punished by imprisonment for up to a maximum of three years or by the imposition of a fine.”

Legal enforcement against gender non-conforming individuals is not consistently documented. In cases where legal enforcement is well-documented, it appears that the law is enforced in an arbitrary manner. Conversely, in Yemen, social consequences for transgender individuals are prevalent, with non-state actors often imposing punishments on them within domestic settings such as their own homes.

Legal Gender Recognition: 

Changing your legal name is possible in Yemen but might not be accessible by all trans people. The procedure involves “correcting” your name after submitting a request to a local court. However, trans people’s name choices might be refused if they’re typically associated with certain genders and might even encounter danger.

No correction or alteration of the limitations of civil status shall be made except by final judgement of the court within the jurisdiction of the department in which they are registered. Correction, addition, deletion and change of data relating to the profession, scientific qualification or occupation may be made on the basis of official documents or investigations issued by the competent authority without the need to issue a judgement. Requests for correction may also be submitted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the Director of Civil Status and Civil Registry. The Director of Civil Status and Civil Registry shall be responsible for correction and signature. The correction shall be approved by the Director-General of Civil Status and Civil Registry of the governorate.

There is no data available about this procedure being employed by the state of Yemen. As such, changing your legal gender marker is not possible.

No known cases of attempts to obtain legal gender recognition in Yemen have been found.

Gender Affirming Healthcare:

There is no data available suggesting the availability of gender-affirming care in Yemen. Seeking treatment from underground organizing or non-governmental actors is typically possible in states where non-confident gender identity is criminalized but is unlikely to occur in Yemen due to the overall social standing of transgender people in Yemen and because of the humanitarian crisis.

There are no specific fatwas pertaining to transgender individuals issued by the religious authorities in the country. However, as the country follows Sunni Islam, the fatwas issued by esteemed Sunni authorities such as Al-Azhar in Egypt and the Islamic Fiqh Council in Saudi Arabia are considered applicable. These fatwas prohibit transgender individuals from seeking gender-affirming healthcare and restrict sex reassignment surgeries to intersex individuals only.

The political and judicial systems in Yemen are intricately entangled with an ongoing political conflict. The multifaceted dynamics involve various factions competing for power, resulting in a state of affairs being governed by the government in some places and armed militants governing others. Unfortunately, these militias do not consistently adhere to the principles of due process, particularly when it comes to individuals who deviate from societal norms. Due to the ongoing conflict, the aforementioned legislation is applicable within the territories under the control of the government.