Outside of Israel, there is no tolerance for transgender people in the Middle East. In 2016, several cinemas in Qatar began screening The Danish Girl, a film telling the story of a transgender artist. It had already been censored in most of the countries in the Middle East, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia the question of a ban did not arise at all, since in the interests of morality the kingdom has no cinemas. The hope for Qatar to actually allow it failed quickly. Complaints about the film immediately flooded social media, and in a swift response the Qatari Culture Ministry thanked Twitter users for their “unwavering vigilance,” and announced that the film was banned.
The most horrific government in the Middle East for LGBT people is in Iran. The Iranian government’s welcoming of trans people contrasts dramatically with its criminalization and severe punishment (often the death sentence) of homosexual activity. This contrast creates a powerful push for gay people to legalize their position by registering, against their will, as transgender.