Transgender's 'uncomfortable' transit at Abu Dhabi airport

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on October 2, 2016 | Last updated on October 2, 2016 at 07.44 am
Transgenders uncomfortable transit at Abu Dhabi airport


Female officers were not willing to search the Indian and she wasn't comfortable with men frisking her.

An Indian transgender activist had to face an embarrassing situation at the Abu Dhabi airport in the wee hours of Friday.

Back from Kenya and on her way to India, Mumbai-based Abhina Aher had a transit stop in UAE's capital, she was going through a metal detector when it beeped. According to Aher's Facebook post, airport officers requested to see her passport. One of them asked Aher to keep her bags away and took her passport.

The airport officials, according to Aher asked her to explain the 'T' in her passport. "They were constantly asking me questions in public whether you are a man or woman, "to which I kept replying that I am a woman and a woman should check me," she said in her Facebook post.

Female officers at the airport were not willing to search her and she wasn't comfortable with men frisking her. It was a hapless situation for Mumbai-based Abhina Aher.

"Another officer said I am half-man half-woman. Finally, two men forcefully tried to check me physically," recounted Aher.

"The officers were suspicious as to why I was not letting them touch my body and insisted on a woman to do that. Finally another office suggested me to remove all jewellery and shoe. Finally I was cleared to go but this experience is insisting how important it is to do global advocacy on trans issues," she said.

"Gross discrimination by ground staff based on gender for having 'trangender' passport," Aher posted on her Facebook page.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India had recognised a third gender that is neither male nor female.

"Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue," the top court said.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Airport said that the incident, though unfortunate, was necessary as detailed searches will have to be carried wherever deemed necessary.

"It is unfortunate that this passenger was uncomfortable with the screening process. Abu Dhabi Airports places the safety and security of our passengers as our top priority and detailed searches have to be carried out where necessary," an official statement said.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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