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Appeal No 202/2017 – Qatar

Litigation Degree: Second
Case No: 890/2019 and Appeal No 202/2017
Issuing Court: Court of Appeals
Judgement: Unfavourable, the request for legal gender recognition was denied
Judgement Date: 23/03/2017

The plaintiff initiated a lawsuit seeking an order for the pertinent committees in the births and deaths registries to amend his personal information on official documents to reflect his gender transition from female to male, following a lifelong gender identity disorder and subsequent surgery abroad. Nevertheless, the court dismissed the lawsuit and rejected the appeal on grounds of lacking immediate medical urgency and potential violation of the principles of Sharia and Islamic jurisprudence.

The plaintiff lodged a claim before the Qatari Court of First Instance on 14/12/2016, requesting the Ministry of the Interior to amend his data in official documents due to his diagnosis of gender identity disorder. This diagnosis was confirmed by a German doctor and subsequent surgical and hormonal treatments at a German hospital, which resulted in his gender transition from female to male on 7/5/2012. However, when presented at Hamad Hospital in Qatar, it was stated that the applicant’s medical history was unknown and hormonal analysis indicated that the applicant was biologically female and suffered from gender identity disorder, which is not a valid reason to change one’s sex in Islamic Sharia. 

The court has ruled that the application has been accepted in form but rejected in substance, in accordance with Islamic sharia law, due to the absence of a specific governing law. The court has also relied on Islamic jurisprudence, which stipulates that sex corrections should only be carried out in cases of urgent medical biological necessity and in accordance with principles of public order and morality. Furthermore, a distinction has been made between the urgent process of sex correction and the desire-based process of sex change. The court has also referenced the Kuwaiti Court’s decision in case No. 2003/861 and Appeal No. 2004/674, which stated that sex cannot be changed solely on psychological grounds. However, the plaintiff filed an appeal against this decision on April 20, 2017. The court has accepted the appeal in form but rejected it in substance, as there was no urgent medical need for a sex change, no physical deformity or condition of intersexuality requiring such a change, and the plaintiff did not provide any new supporting evidence.

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