News of a young Egyptian trans woman being arrested at her home on 6 March have hit social media as people fear the possible threats she may face if placed in a male detention center.
Malak Al-Kashif is a 19-year-old Egyptian trans woman who, according to her lawyer Amr Mohamed, was arrested for participating in the anti-government protests that took place on 1 March triggered by the horrific train explosion.
In an article released by Mada Masr, at least 70 people who took part in the demonstrations have been arrested, but 10 have already been released.
However, after her arrest by National Security Agency, Malak’s location is still unknown to her family and lawyer.
As soon as news of her arrest circulated social media, people expressed their concern for her vulnerable position given that her national identity card and official papers still list her as male.
Malak has been trying to change the gender she was assigned at birth officially for three years as a result of the tedious process and governmental paper work she has to go through despite undergoing the sex reassignment surgery.
Because of this, it is most likely that Malak will be places in a males prison exposing her to possible harassment, assault and rape by male prisoners or officers.
Malak drew public attention in 2017, when she shared her documented her transition on her personal Facebook page. In 2018, Malak made headlines again when she attempted suicide.
According to an interview with Erem News, a UAE-based news outlet, Malak shares what she wrote on her suicide note: “I’m not killing myself because I’m trans. It’s society that has killed me, because you rejected me, hurt me, hit me, detained me.”
“For a long time, I was afraid to be on the street and afraid of riding public transport. I still don’t take the metro,” she said, before describing the violence she has faced in public space, including harassment, assault and kidnapping.
LGBTQIA+ community in Egypt have been under avid crackdown since the 2017 Mashrou’ Leila concert where, according to Mada Masr, at least 75 people have been arrested since for raising the rainbow flag in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
Despite the fact that homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, the society continues to take a conservative stance on the subject, and discrimination is common. Gay men have been repeatedly arrested and accused of blasphemy, debauchery, and charges related to immorality.
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) report states that authorities have been able to spot arrest people for their sexuality through dating apps and websites such as Tinder and Grinder.