Police forces arrested a young trans woman from her residence in Giza on Wednesday, according to her lawyer, Amr Mohamed, amid an ongoing arrest campaign by security forces that has targeted over 70 people nationwide since last week.
The family of 19-year-old trans woman Malak al-Kashif informed her lawyer that National Security Agency forces arrested Kashif from her home in Giza on Wednesday, Mohamed told Mada Masr, adding that her whereabouts remain unknown.
Reports of the arrest circulated on social media on Wednesday, with users drawing attention to the fact that Kashif’s detention may leave her vulnerable to a wide array of serious threats at the hands of Egyptian authorities and other inmates, including the potential of harassment, assault and rape.
These threats are exacerbated by the fact that Kashif’s official documents, including her national ID, identify her as “male.” As such, it is likely that Kashif will be held in male detention facilities, a number of users pointed out.
Kashif is described as a trans and LGBTQ rights activist by some social media users. She came to the public fore in 2017, when local media outlets reported on her transition, which she reportedly documented on her personal Facebook account.
In an interview with the Abu Dhabi-based Erem News outlet in September 2018, Kashif speaks out about her struggle of coming out as trans in Egypt, saying that she attempted suicide in the summer of 2018 by jumping out a fifth-floor balcony — resulting in severe injuries to her arm and pelvis — but faced difficulty in receiving adequate medical treatment in public hospitals, at points being held in male wards and threatened by medical staff with arrest.
Kashif tells the interviewer that, in the suicide note she left prior to her attempt, she wrote, “I’m not killing myself because I’m trans. It’s society that has killed me, because you rejected me, hurt me, hit me, detained me.”
“For a long time, I was afraid to be on the street and afraid of riding public transportation. I still don’t take the metro,” she said, before describing the violence she has faced in public space, including harassment, assault and kidnapping.
LGBTQ individuals have long faced systemic violence and oppression by the Egyptian state, with the largest crackdown to date — in which at least 75 of people were arrested — taking place in 2017 after a number of people raised a rainbow flag in support of LGBTQ rights at a concert in Cairo in September of that year, garnering widespread media attention.
Egyptian authorities have also pursued systematic efforts to entrap individuals for their sexuality on dating applications and websites over the past few years, starting in 2015, according to a report released by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) in November 2017.