Egyptian Transgender Women Forcibly Taken, at Risk of Torture and Sexual Violence


Rabat – 19-year-old Malak al-Kashef, who recently had sex reassignment surgery, has not been heard from ever since she was taken by the Egyptian national security at the early morning hours of March 6.

After police raided her house and forcibly took her, she was reportedly taken to an “undisclosed location.”

Police denied they have her their custody.

Human rights organization Amnesty International warned that al-Kashef may be at risk of torture and violence given Egypt’s animosity towards the Egyptian LGBT community.

“Egyptian authorities have a horrific track record of persecuting people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including through carrying out forced anal examinations which amount to torture,” explained Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty has vehemently denounced Egypt’s treatment of the LGBT community, writing on their website and on social media on March 7, “Dozens of people have been arrested in recent days over anti-government protests relating to last week’s train crash that killed at least 25 people and injured many others. At least 32 people remain in pre-trial detention over unfounded charges relating to the peaceful expression of their opinions.”

Al-Kashef was detained on the grounds that she has joined a “terrorist group” and leveraging social media to disrupt “public order.”

The organization presumes she was also detained as a result of her call for peaceful protests following the deadly train accident.

From the closet to the prison cell

Malak felt gender dysphoria from an early age. She felt female but was trapped in a male body.

Malak has made appearances in the media in the past and has been a staunch proponent of LGBT rights in a country where one’s sexual orientation that does not comply with the “normative heterosexuality” is considered deviant.

“Deviant” gender identities must be shrouded in secrecy. Otherwise, such identities will run the risk of being ostracized from society.

Al-kashef left home because her family outright rejected her. She said, “they were afraid of society.”

She has contemplated suicide several times. She once jumped off the fifth floor in a failed suicide attempt and ended up sustaining three severe double fractures at the level of her pelvis and left arm, which, she elaborated, will high unlikely “function the way it normally did.”

In an interview with Erem News agency, she recounted her first realization: “At the age of nine, I realized that I had [gender dysphoria], but I was clueless as to what it was called or that there is what is now known as ‘transexuality’ or ‘gender identity disorder’.”

Statistics conducted by a gender clinic in the Netherlands shows that there is 1 male to female transgender in every 11,000 persons and 1 female to male in every 30,400 persons.