Is having a sex-change acceptable if I am Muslim?


Hi Shoaib,

Thanks for writing in to us at AlterHéros. It looks like there are two main issues that you’ve addressed in your post: transgenderism and transsexualism. Identifying as transgendered generally refers to a person who was born as a particular gender but does not fit into the conventional gender roles set out by society for that gender. In your case, you were born as a male but you do not fit in with the way society believes boys/men “ought” to behave. Though you may look like and are anatomically male, you do not feel like one and actually prefer to identify as a female. This is what is referred to as gender identity. You feel like a girl, you like to dress up in feminine clothing and you wish to experience sex as a girl. From the sounds of it, you do fit the profile of someone who identifies as transgendered.

When it comes to transsexualism, this term generally refers to a person who wishes to start living in society as a different gender. This can range from a variety of changes such as dressing differently, changing hairstyles, hormone therapy and even surgery. It really depends on the individual to decide how far they wish to go when transitioning into their new gender. In your case, you may identify as transsexual as well as transgendered if you wish to start living life as a girl/woman.

Identifying as transsexual is a pretty big deal because you’re really going against the grain of society. Gender issues pop up in the most unexpected of places. If you choose to start living as a girl, you might feel resistance from family, friends, the Muslim community, strangers and even with the law. Simply going to the toilet can be problematic if you don’t have a convincing appearance of a woman. You will have to legally change the gender on all your identification which can be a time consuming process. At the age of 18, you can start talking to your doctor about hormone therapy and surgical procedures but the cost of these options are extremely high and are often not covered by your healthcare plan. Long story short, depending on how far you wish to transition, it’s a long, rocky road and it’s important to have a good support system to get through it.

Though you didn’t mention it directly, the description of your sexual fantasies would appear to an outsider as same-sex desires (assuming that you look like a boy and masturbate thinking of men). Sexual orientation is a completely separate category from transgenderism and transexuality (i.e. you can be transgendered or transsexual and be straight or gay and vice versa). The only reason why this is being mentioned is that there is often conflict between Muslim belief and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer (LGBTQ). It might be of interest to you to check out this article on the AlterHéros website that addresses homosexuality and transgenderism with respect to Islam:

https://alterheros.com/english/dossier/Articles.cfm?InfoID=76 This article also discusses the acceptability of sex reassignment surgeries for Muslims. You can also check out this website: http://etransgender.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=320 for Muslim quotes on transgender and intersexism. In terms of support groups and forums, check out http://www.al-jannah.co.uk/ as well as http://www.imaan.org.uk/

Hopefully you’ll find those websites useful and will be able to get the support that they have to offer. Transgenderism and transsexuality are extremely complex topics and are very subjective. It’s understandable to have a lot of questions about how you feel when you’re questioning your gender identity and potentially your sexual orientation, especially since you are Muslim. If you have more questions or wish to follow up with us, please do not hesitate to write back. Good luck!

Sincerely,

K-Wo for AlterHéros


About Kay Wo

Kay holds a master degree in sexology. She has also been involved in public speaking to youth on fighting homophobia in schools, as well as working with youth living with HIV. Kay volunteers also for CAEO Québec (Gay Line, Gay Online and SILK).

Since I joined the AlterHéros team, I have greatly enjoyed my time as an “Tell the expert” expert. Not only do I enjoy writing up tid bits of advice to inquiring minds, I feel that I have gained a lot from hearing about the problems and inquiries of individuals from all different walks of life. This has afforded me to think outside the box, outside of my own context and to expand my understanding of people, sexuality and a wide range of other subjects. This monthly challenge has benefited me in many ways and I have always appreciated how easily it fits in to my schedule. Not only that, but the staff have always been friendly and flexible concerning my needs.

Leave a comment