Originally Posted by akulion
Oddly enough even in Saudi Arabia it seems that some scholars have a different view of the legality of trans-sexuality.
Of course all of this raises more questions than it answers - what is the definition of gender in Islamic law? If you are genetically male but pysiologically female, are you female? I do not know and now I've made my contribution I think I will go and do something else before I get banned.
Saudi judge rules for transsexual in family fight over inheritance
By Colin Freeman
A judge in Saudi Arabia has provoked controversy within the strictly Islamic kingdom by ruling in favour of a transsexual, whose scandalised family tried to strip him of half his inheritance after he became a woman.
In a case that has sparked frenzied interest in the kingdom, the son of an extremely wealthy Saudi was sued by his relatives after they discovered that he had secretly spent part of his father's estate on an operation to change his sex.
Furious at the perceived disgrace he had brought on their family, his sisters pointed out that under the country's inheritance laws he was entitled to only half as much money as when he was a man.
Now, however, the action has been dropped after a judge in Jeddah ruled that since he was male when he received the inheritance, he was entitled to keep it in full. In future he will be treated under inheritance law as a woman.
Although the ruling does not challenge Saudi men's superior status in law, the spectacle of the conservative judiciary grappling with legal issues of transsexuality has caused a furore in a country where sex is still a taboo subject.
Ever since "Ahmad", as he is known, first confided anonymously to the popular Saudi women's magazine, Sayidaty - which translates as "My lady" - his story has dominated talk in the coffee shops of Jeddah and the capital, Riyadh.
Some of the country's most eminent religious scholars have also weighed in, some vexed merely by the concept of gender ambiguity. "There is no mention in the Koran of a 'she-male'," Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Qadir Al-Maabi, a specialist in inheritance law, told Sayidaty. "The features of both sexes cannot be in one person. How could a child's sex not be known immediately at birth when the signs are obvious?"
According to Sayidaty, which chronicled Ahmad's story in detail, he was aware from a young age that he felt more akin to his sisters than to his brother.
"Even as a child, I felt that I was not a normal boy and that something was wrong with me," he said. "I preferred to be with girls and to play with them."
Bullied at secondary school and fed up with persistent parental advice to "toughen up", he persuaded his father to send him abroad for education. At university in America he developed "female bodily features" and began to dress in women's clothes.
After American doctors told him, "You're a female, not a male," he considered a sex-change operation. When he asked his father for the necessary money, however, the outraged patriarch said that he would not recognise him as his daughter - and would cut him out of his inheritance altogether.
His father died shortly afterwards and, after receiving his full inheritance, Ahmad returned to America where he pressed on with the operation. "It was much simpler than I had feared. I began to live, for the first time, what was a normal life. I felt that a huge burden had been lifted from me," he said.
As a woman, he got a job with an American computer company and was planning further studies when the September 11 attacks made him feel that he was in the wrong place. He cut his hair short, wiped off his make-up and returned to Saudi Arabia as a man.
The trauma caused by the death of his mother not long after his arrival prompted him to confess all at a specially convened family meeting.
"I told them everything and the meeting degenerated into a screaming match with threats and accusations hurled at me," he said. "I told them that I had not committed a crime and so should not be treated as an outcast. I declared that I had made the right decision by correcting my sex From that time, my family has had nothing to do with me."
His sister and her husband applied for the family estate - thought to total millions of pounds - to be redivided, with his share cut by half. "They filed a suit even though I am still considered a man and am legally a male in Saudi Arabia," said Ahmad.
Ahmad's family have refused to comment publicly. Ashraf al Saraj, however, a lawyer acting for Ahmad, said that they dropped the case at a preliminary hearing when the judge made it clear that the court was likely to rule against them.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Misnad, a leading Saudi religious commentator, said: "The inheritors have no right, either religiously or legally, to ask that the money be re-divided. It was divided when the person in question was a male and was divided correctly at that time."
Despite Saudi Arabia's socially conservative image, previous gender change operations have been permitted for patients with physical characteristics of both sexes. They are known as sex "correction" operations and require the permission of a religious scholar.