LGBT people’s rights are suppressed in the UAE, of which Dubai is a member. All sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman, who were born a man and a woman, are in violation of the law. Punishments include flogging, fines, jail, deportation, and even the death penalty.
Against this backdrop, life as a trans person in Dubai is not a piece of cake. There is no way of knowing how many trans people there are in Dubai exactly. Obviously, the national census does not include questions on this matter and no accurate figure representing the trans community can exist. What is more, nobody is doing any statistically significant research.
Experts estimate that around 1 percent of the world’s population is trans, so we could say 1% of the people who live in Dubai identify as trans.
How do they live? Trans people in Dubai face great abuse and inequality. They are targets of hate crimes, physical attacks, and assaults. They are scared to display their true gender identity.
While TS dating in Dubai is not impossible, a lot of people limit their interactions to their social circle out of safety considerations. Still, the community does exist and is active. The emirate has a lively dating scene, but discretion is mandatory. That’s why most people who live here turn to the internet.
Trans dating is not outlawed unless you get caught. There are many trans people from the US, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Canada, and Russia in Dubai. There are also some trans locals. In their daily life, these women wear Abaya – oversized black dresses that conceal their bodies completely.
Trans people in Dubai do not use the restroom designated for their true gender, especially public restrooms. It’s possible to get arrested over this. They avoid talking to people in public, especially to strangers because they might be undercover cops. Talking in general can be risky if the woman has a masculine voice that can easily reveal her biological gender.
Obviously, trans people don’t go to the beach in Dubai. They are not the only ones who avoid public displays of affection – everywhere, even in bars and clubs at night.