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Question 381: A/S. One of my boss is transgender and she has locker in ladies locker room. I ve never seen her changing there but she does her makeup there. I usually change as fast as I can since I am very particular about changing in female locker room. My nightmare is what if I am changing and she walks in? What is the fiqh ruling in this situation? If I have no other choice, & im trying to change as quick as possible into uniform, is she still considered a male? What is the rules of Transgender according to Shia?

Answer 381: There are four types of people can be imagined for Transsexual people that each has special rules that has been explained in Islamic Laws. If you are not sure which type your boss is you are supposed to observe hijab in front of it. Otherwise, if you know that your boss is really a woman you would be allowed to change your clothes even in front of her. For further information, please refer to the detailed answer.

Most of Islamic laws are for men and women. In other word, some of rules are specialized for men and others for women. There is no doubt that most of people are men or women. The following are four types of sexuality can be imagined for the human being.

  1. Transsexual: These types of people experience a gender identity in a way that they see themselves in a transition between being women or men. In other word, some men psychologically or mentally identify themselves as a woman and some women mentally as men. Although, they don’t have any deficiency or defect about their physiological body, but they are mentally and psychologically ill. They sometimes, don’t know which they are, women or men.

In response to a question that what is the criteria for such types of people about their sexuality? Are they considered as men or women? We can say that the basis on determining sexuality is its physical appearance. So, if they have male sexual organs, they would be men, however they mentally belong themselves to opposite gender. If they have female sexual organs they would be women, however they are mentally or intellectually men.

Rules concerning them: They have to observe hijab and other rules related to women if they have female sexual organs, however they are mentally men.

Note: We must observe the rules relating to woman or man if we encounter with them. E.g. we would be able to get married to such people after getting the confirmation of a physician who approved which are they women or man. If they are considered as women according to the doctor confirmation we can get married to them.

  1. Hidden gender: Some people have hidden gender. This means that they have male sexual organs inside of his stomach, but apparently considered as women. And even they have long hair, breast, having no hair on face and generally looks like a woman.

According to scholars, the sexual criteria for such people is its real organs not apparent.

Therefore, if a person’s gender is hidden and one itself is aware of such circumstances, one has to observe Islamic laws according to its real gender (which is hidden). E.g. if they have male sexual organs inside of their body they are considered as men and then must act like men. Otherwise, they are women and have to act like woman. For instance, they have to observe hijab in front of non-mahram.[1]

  1. After changing gender (Sex Reassignment Surgery): If one seek medical assistance and aligned its body in order to identify its sex or gender, has done such surgery and become a man or woman the sexual gender criteria would be determined after the surgery. For example, if it becomes man he must act like a man and observe rules relating to men.
  2. Hermaphrodite (Khuntha): They are of two types: 1. Have both male and female sexual organs. 2. Have none of the both organs. The second type is known as Mamsooh.

According to physicians, the medical assistance can help them align their body with their identified sex or gender, including: Hormone replacement therapy, Sex reassignment therapies, mentally factors and sexual organs.

According to scholars, the criterion by which they can be determined as men or women is sexual gender. That’s why, there have been declared some signs in order to make sure which they are. For example, if one has both male and female sexual organs but urinate from one of the both it would be considered as the criterion. Therefore, if one urinates from male organs it would be considered as man.

There are other solutions have been explained in Islamic laws in order to identify their sex and gender as follows:

Urination (that just explained),  overtaking urination of female or male canal, interrupted urine delay in male or female urination canal and finally to be cautious and act like men and women if the previous mentioned criterions didn’t work and observing the rules of men and women are not beyond their capacities.[2]

Conclusion: Since, you are not sure to which of the above mentioned types your boss belong, you are supposed to observe hijab as well as the other rules in this regards if you see it.

[1] . In this regards, refer to Mutahhari, Ahmad, Mustanad Tahrir al-Wasila (al-Masael al-Mustahdathah), Pgs. 191-192;  Tahrir al-Wasila of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol 2, Pg. 559, Q 2.

[2] For further information in this regards, please refer to Sadr, Sayyid Muhammad, Mawara al-Fiqh, Vol. 6, Pg. 135.

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