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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

New law does not legalise sex change

The new Medical Liability Law does not mean that gender reassignment surgery is now legal in the UAE.

DUBAI // The new Medical Liability Law does not mean that gender reassignment surgery is now legal in the UAE.

“We want to clarify the difference between the terms ‘sex change’ and ‘sex correction surgery’, as sex change surgery remains illegal in the UAE,” said Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for public policy and licensing at the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

Sex change surgery alters the gender and physical features of a person, whose gender is clear, to match his or her physiological, biological and genetic characteristics, according to Dr Al Amiri.

In contrast, sex correction is the “medical intervention to correct the sex of a person who suffers sexual obscurity, as it is unclear whether the person is male or female, and whose physical features do not match the physiological, biological and genetic characteristics”.

Dr Al Amiri said sex correction surgery was in line with Sharia and carried out in other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia.

People who wish to undergo sex correction operations must meet certain requirements, which have to be approved by a Health Ministry committee.

Dr Al Amiri said that he believed the new law would protect patients and healthcare professionals.

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae