Lebanon: “He Wanted to Beat the Woman Out of Me”

When she was 18, Maria escaped from her father’s house after he beat her so violently that she lost consciousness, then restrained her for two weeks with metal chains that stretched from her bed to the bathroom. “He wanted to beat the woman out of me,” Maria said. Six years later, she is still fighting to survive.

Maria is a transgender woman in Lebanon. Her story is one of many heartbreaking accounts that I heard from transgender women in the country.

Over the past year, I interviewed 50 transgender women about what it was like to live and survive in Lebanon. They face structural violence and discrimination in every aspect of their lives—at home, in the street, in seeking jobs, housing, and health care, and at Lebanon’s ubiquitous security checkpoints. All the women I spoke with said it is nearly impossible for them to live a safe and dignified life in Lebanon.

For many of the transgender women I interviewed, coming to terms with their gender identity in a patriarchal society is a tormenting process. Read more via Raseef22