This top Egyptian actor has been praised for supporting his transgender son’s transition by saying it is “what God wanted”.
Actor Hesham Selim, 62, came out in support of his son Nour’s transition on the Egyptian chat show ‘Al-Qahera Wal Nas’.
Selim said: “My daughter Noura is now my son Nour. This is what God wanted.”
He added: “I was not confused or surprised” by what then happened because from the day that Nour was born he could only see him as a boy.
“As his father, I have to help him to be able to live the life that he wants.”
Selim said that his son, 26, had begun transitioning at the age of 18 and added that the pair had encountered some issues at first when the actor continued using feminine pronouns with Nour.
The 62-year-old said his son is undergoing physical transition but has not yet been able to change his identity documents to those of a man.
The LGBTQ+ community in Egypt have praised the actor for his outspoken support of his son’s transition, with activist Malak Al-Kashef writing on social media: “This is a remarkable step and development for transgender people, and a step towards societal acceptance and a greater amount of support than exists now.”
Gender transitioning is not criminalised in Egypt but those seeking to transition face legal hurdles and fierce opposition from the majority of the country’s society.
Associated Press reported earlier this year that medical transitions require a seal of approval from a group of Islamic scholars at Cairo’s Al-Alzhar University.
It is unclear if Nour received approval for his transition from the group.
The LGBTQ+ community in Egypt are not legally protected against discrimination and rights group Bedaya, based in Cairo, said that of the 92 arrests of the LGBTQ+ people in the country last year, over two-thirds had “no legal basis”.
Human Rights Watch criticised Egypt in March for “refusing to recognise the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people”.
Selim is the son of Egyptian footballer and football manager Saleh Selim and made his film debut in 1972.
He has since starred in over 30 films and TV shows.
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