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Kuwait Overturns Law Used to Prosecute Transgender People

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CAIRO — Kuwait’s constitutional court overturned a law on Wednesday that authorities had used to prosecute transgender people, saying the statute violated Kuwaitis’ right to personal freedom.

Activists hailed the decision as a landmark for transgender rights in the Middle East. The law, known as Article 198, had criminalized “imitation of the opposite sex,” giving Kuwaiti authorities free rein to stop, arrest and prosecute people whose appearance did not match the gender marked on their official identification card.

Transgender Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti activists say that the police often detain transgender people at security checkpoints after inspecting their papers, sometimes for little more than a man having what the officers consider a feminine voice.

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