Kuwait’s Constitutional Court Repeals Law Criminalizing Trans People

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Kuwait is taking a major step forward towards creating a safer space for the LGBTQI+ community in the region, in particular trans people. The gulf state has finally repealed a law that once prosecuted trans and non-binary folx in the nation.

The nation’s constitutional court recently overturned a discriminatory law that was used to legally sentence individuals for “imitating the opposite sex” as Article 198 of the penal code reads. This translated into Kuwaiti authorities being able to stop, arrest and even incarcerate up to one year people whose physical descriptions and appearances do not match the gender inscribed on one’s identification card.

Since Wednesday, a court ruling concluded that the measure violated the country’s constitution and consequently nullified the amendment in a historic move.

Since its introduction in May of 2007, Kuwait has been put under the limelight several times by various human rights groups around the globe. Not so long ago, in October 2021, Human Rights Watch called the country out following Maha al-Mutairi’s 1,000 dinar ($3,320) fine imposed by the now-repealed law. Al-Mutairi has repeatedly been convicted and detained through the years as a result of the oppressive law. She claims to have been arrested six times due to her transgender identity and even “barred from travelling outside the country due to the cases against her”.

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