This transgender woman and her earring-wearing friend have been imprisoned for cross-dressing
A transgender woman and her male friend have been imprisoned for a year in the United Arab Emirates for wearing women’s clothes.
The pair, who are from Singapore, were first approached by police at a shopping mall in the country’s capital of Abu Dhabi two weeks ago.
They have since been charged, gone on trial and been sentenced.
Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, a pre-op trans woman, was in the city for a photo shoot when she was arrested with her friend Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman, a fashion photographer.
An official court document misgendered Ibrahim, stating that two Singaporean men were caught wearing women’s clothes in public and behaving indecently, according to The Straits Times.
Ibrahim, 37, had often travelled to the UAE in the past without encountering any difficulties, said friends, who call her Fifi.
Speaking to The Straits Times, her younger sister – who wanted to be known as Madam Rozy – said: “Fifi has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, so her personal documents still state her gender as male.
“We are a very close-knit family and are very worried for her.”
Rahman, 26, was wearing a white t-shirt, bow tie and earrings when police approached the pair at Yas Mall in the east of the city.
He has reportedly created photo spreads for magazines such as Esquire, as well as with fashion brands including Burberry.
His brother Muhammad Saiful Bahri Bin Abdul Rahman told The Associated Press: “I hope to bring my brother back to Singapore as soon as possible.
“My brother is a friendly, selfless and jovial person. It’s ridiculous to be jailed for his dressing.”
46-year-old makeup artist Sha Shamsi told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore that Rahman was an “amazing” and “funny” friend, adding that the photographer was “always there for you.
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“He is very calm and he doesn’t judge you.”
Homosexuality is still illegal in the UAE, and people are often prosecuted for cross-dressing.
A father tricked his daughter and her girlfriend into flying into the country earlier this year, in the hope that they would be arrested.
Same-sex couples can be imprisoned for up to 10 years for consensual sex in the Middle Eastern nation.
Two trans men in the country filed an unprecedented lawsuit in May to attain legal recognition for their gender reassignments.