Israeli transgender woman says not allowed to enter Egypt due to ‘male’ passport

Atalia Israeli-Nevo says border officials at crossing to Sinai wouldn’t let her pass; Israeli authorities say their officers are not allowed to exercise judgement on gender, dress

Transgender woman Atalia Israeli-Nevo, who says she was prevented entering Sinai by Egyptian border officials who said she could not cross due to her 'male' passport (Screenshot Channel 10)
Transgender woman Atalia Israeli-Nevo, who says she was prevented entering Sinai by Egyptian border officials who said she could not cross due to her 'male' passport (Screenshot Channel 10)

An Israeli transgender woman says she was recently prevented from entering Egypt because her passport states that she is male.

Atalia Israeli-Nevo, 27, says she wanted to travel to the Sinai Peninsula last week but was stopped at the border crossing from Israel by Egyptian officials who kept her waiting for three hours before telling her she couldn’t enter the country because her passport stated that she is male.

Writing on Facebook after the incident, Israeli-Nevo said that the Egyptian officials told her that she needed to get her passport amended to designate her as female if she wished to enter the country.

Israeli-Nevo and the friend she was travelling with returned to the Israeli side of the crossing, where she says authorities refused to refund her the transit tax she had paid to cross the border, describing the attitude of one of the guards as “dismissive.”

*אמ;לק – לא העבירו אותי את הגבול לסיני בגלל שאני טרנסית, תעזרו לי להגיע לתקשורת כדי לדבר על למה סעיף המין הוא קקה…

Posted by Atalia Israeli-Nevo on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Israeli-Nevo wrote that, in her opinion, there is no reason for a foreign country to know her gender, and that therefore the category should be removed from Israeli passports. She also noted the recent cases of left-wing activists getting stopped by Israeli authorities while trying to enter the country.

The Israeli Population and Immigration Authority issued a statement to the mako news site, saying Israeli-Nevo’s problems had not occurred on their side of the crossing.

“The examination of the case shows that the author’s claims are against border control in Egypt, as there was no problem at border control in Israel because passage is not dependent on the gender or clothing of the traveler.”

The authority also noted that its employees are not allowed to exercise personal judgement in cases such as this and must adhere to the law.

According to mako, earlier this year Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit issued a directive that the authorities must find a solution that will allow those who have undergone gender reassignment through private medical care to register their new status. However many members of the transgender community still struggle to change their gender category on Israeli identification papers.

Hundreds of gay men and transgender women have been arrested in Egypt since 2013 as part of a crackdown on freedoms. Egypt does not consider the two groups to be distinct from one another.

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