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Case No. Unknown of 2023 – Bahrain

Litigation Degree: First
Case No: Unknown of 2023
Issuing Court: Court of First Instance 
Judgment: Unfavorable, the request for legal gender recognition was denied
Judgment Date: 2023

The plaintiff filed a claim before the court requesting the court’s approval to change his sex from female to male and, by extension, to change his personal data in official documents after he requested it to sign a medical examination conducted by a three-part committee appointed by the Ministry of Health. In fact, the plaintiff was subjected to a medical examination, which concluded gender identity disorder, but his chromosomal traits were feminine and there was therefore no urgent medical need to change sex. Islamic scholars had refused to subject those suffering from gender identity disorder to sex reassignment based on Islamic sharia law.

The plaintiff filed a claim before the Bahraini judiciary requesting that the court subject him to the necessary medical examinations and tests, which include a three-part medical committee, in order to determine whether he is entitled to undergo surgical procedures to change his sex from female to male. The plaintiff acknowledged that he had shown signs of masculinity since his adolescence and that he had undergone medical examinations which confirmed that he had gender identity disorder, which was also recognized by the three-part committee.

The Bahraini court dismissed the case, arguing that the medical reports and the biological, chromosomal, and hormonal examinations, proved the presence of female organs and traits in normal levels and therefore there is no urgent medical necessity to change sex. The Court also stated that it permits surgeries and changes in documents only in cases of sexual deformities and not in cases of gender identity disorder, and therefore a sex change becomes a change from a valid state to a false state. It also based its judgement on the fact that gender identity disorder was insufficient to change personal data in official documents because it was prohibited in Islamic sharia law by the unanimous opinions of scholars in previous cases, to which the Court had sought recourse because of the absence of a status provision governing sex reassignment. Although they refused the plaintiff’s application, they acknowledged the plaintiff’s entitlement to undergo hormonal and surgical treatment for gender identity disorder, but he was not entitled to undergo full sex reassignment surgeries.


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