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Egyptian trans activist says she is treated like ‘the enemy’ and is ‘ready for war’ with her own country

Patrick Kelleher March 30, 2020
malek el-Kashif trans Egypt

LGBT+ activist and transgender woman Malak Al-Kashef has now been released from prison. (Supplied)

A trans activist from Egypt has said she is treated like “the enemy” in her own country, where LGBT+ people’s identities are generally not accepted.

Malak El-Kashif said that people in Egypt who declare themselves to be “different” should be “ready for war”, according to ABC News.

“The society will stomp on you and treat you like you are the enemy,” she said.

Trans activist Malak El-Kashif said she does not want to ‘hide’ her identity in Egypt.

“If I wanted to hide, then I would have hidden and just stayed at my parents’ and not become [transgender] and saved myself all of this.

Malak is one of the country’s most outspoken and visible trans activists – a move that is no easy feat in a country that is hostile to LGBT+ people.

She has opened up about her experience of coming to terms with her gender identity, revealing that she told her mother when she was nine that she was a girl. She was later beaten by her father for expressing her gender identity.

The society will stomp on you and treat you like you are the enemy.

Since she left home at 13, she has fought for the rights of trans people in Egypt. Last year, she was arrested after advocating for a strike following a train crash in her country.

She was imprisoned in a men’s facility, a move that brought the discrimination trans women face in Egypt into sharp focus.

LGBT+ people face arbitrary arrest in Egypt, despite the government’s insistence that they don’t exist at all.

It was reported at the  time that she was seized by police in the early hours of March 6 after being lured to her mother’s house in an apparent ‘sting operation’.

Following her arrest she was detained for three days in an undisclosed location without access to legal counsel.

She was released last July after 120 days of solitary confinement.

El-Kashif’s comments come just days after the Egyptian government was slammed by Human Rights Watch for denying that LGBT+ people exist while continuing to arrest them.

More than 90 people were arrested last year in Egypt for alleged same-sex conduct under the country’s debauchery law. Despite this, officials have suggested that they do “not recognise” the existence of queer people at all.

 

More: Egypt, Malak El-Kashif

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