A Dubai-based man, who was previously female, is set to marry a woman, who was previously male
Gulf News reported that an Indian transsexual man, who has lived in Dubai for 13 years, plans to marry his transsexual girlfriend later this year.
Having undergone the respective sex-change surgeries - which are permissible in the United Arab Emirates - in their native India, the couple hopes to tie the knot in November and move on to settle in Dubai.
"I was still a woman and she was still a man, yet it was love at first sight"
Aarav Appukuttan, 46, who was born female, has lived and worked in Dubai as a property agent for 13 years, saving up enough money to undergo sex-change in India and transform to become a man.
He met Sukanyeah Krishna, 22, who was born a male, four years ago at a hospital in India.
"I was still a woman and she was still a man, yet it was love at first sight," Appukuttan is quoted as saying. "We stuck instant rapport and soon began dating each other."
According to the Daily Express, both Appukuttan and Krishna noticed that their true identities did not correspond with their assigned sexes since childhood.
"My mother told me I always behaved like a boy. I also always felt like one," Appukuttan said, explaining that growing up, his gender took the back seat as he was busy providing for his family.
"I got busy making a living, but after working a long time in Dubai and saving enough money I decided to transition from woman to man," he said.
Since July 2016, he has undergone three surgeries to get his sex reassigned.
Similarly, Krishna has felt that her true gender did not align with her birth-sex since she was a child, as she was "always fond of dolls and felt more comfortable in the company of girls."
So, she went under the knife in May and is still scheduled for two more procedures to complete her transformation.
Now, the couple plans to get married and move to Dubai, after sorting out the required documents.
Appukuttan and Krishna hope to adopt children, as conceiving their own is not possible.
After news of their planned wedding began circulating on social media last week, Appukuttan and Krishna have faced negative feedback and even death threats.
"They have attacked us in such deplorable language that I can't even repeat the words," said Appukuttan.
Transgenderism in the UAE
Under Federal Decree No. 4, which was passed in the UAE last September, sex change operations are allowed in the country so long as there are "psychological" and "physiological" signs of gender and sex disparity.
The law also requires that the patient undergoing sex change surgery receive mental health care to "psychologically prepare" patients for the transition.
Certain schools of Islamic jurisprudence recognize transgenderism, so the law does not necessarily contradict religious teachings.