Released this year in Beirut, the book “Mouzakarat Randa al-Trans”, or “The Memoirs of Randa the Trans” depicts the struggle from man to woman for an Algerian national:
In a daring, unprecedented move, a pioneer of the Arab world’s underground transgender movement has released her memoirs, recounting her struggle to become a woman against all odds. [The book] is a brutally honest narrative that traces Randa’s battles with family, society, country, religion and abuse in her native Algeria.
Forced out of her native Algeria with the threat of death, Randa took refuge in Beirut:
Long-running death threats last year forced her to leave her homeland and, with an expired European visa and friends in nearby Lebanon, Beirut seemed the obvious choice.
“I had been receiving threats for some time,” she said. “General security in Algeria had built a file on me, and I had been ‘warned’ by certain Islamist groups.
“Last April, I was given a 10-day ultimatum: leave or be killed.”
Why is Lebanon considered a haven?
While Lebanese law technically criminalizes same-sex relationships, it makes no mention of sex reassignment surgery.
And although patriarchal values still hold sway over this small eastern Mediterranean country, Beirut’s relatively tolerant society and the stellar reputation of Lebanese doctors have encouraged persons of different sexual orientations and identities to seek refuge in the vibrant city.
Though I honestly believe that we have still a long way to go to establish the basic foundations towards human rights, we seem to be on the right course. Unless we have a law that specifically protects people, “no mention of sex reassignment” will create problems down the line.