A genderqueer and non-binary trans person was allegedly subjected to a harrowing transphobic and homophobic experience at the Muscat International Airport on Friday, February 24.
Nin Kala, a non-binary trans Indian model was made subject to a horrible experience at the Muscat International Airport by the Omani Immigration staff, as she was asked, or to put it more explicitly, forced to remove her shirt on the supposed pretext of a physical examination for security reasons. The trans designer, activist and model took to social media to inform the world of the horrendous and uneasy position she was put through by the officials in Oman.
The Transphobic Atrocity
Nin’s testimony regarding the experience details the extreme transphobia and humiliation meted out to her at the airport. The trans designer was travelling with their friends to Oman with a valid tourist visa for 10 days.They had reached the airport at about 11 pm in the night. Allegedly, the immigration officer had her taken to an isolated room, and called in one of his colleagues as well.
While her friends cleared immigration, Nin was taken aside and into the room with just the two officials. Once there, she was asked to remove her shirt and made subject to a round of examination, on the basis of some suspicion the official had about her. She was asked to wait further and another senior officer was brought in who asked her to remove her shirt again.
The Ugly Face of Discrimination
The officer, in the name of examination, touched her inappropriately – pinched the skin on her belly and asked inappropriate questions as to how her skin was so soft, smooth and hairless. Despite such humiliating treatment, Nin managed to answer as to how that was the way she was born and how she was.
Following this, the trans activist was told that she cannot be allowed to enter the country because she did not appear as she did in the passport. The fact that she was denied entry in spite of having a valid visa and passport is an intrusion on basic human rights. They took her back to the immigration department and made her wait, all the while laughing and giggling at her plight. The ordeal ended in an unacceptable fashion as she was asked to book her own ticket back to her country and to leave the country as soon as possible.
Her passport was confiscated and kept in their custody and returned only once she had figured out her ticket. She describes how insensitive the majority of the staff were but a few people at the airport were quite disturbed by what she was put through and tried to help her. Two women tried to talk sense into the senior officer after listening to her side but he denied any chance of allowing Nin entry into the country. She describes how bad her situation was as no one was trying to understand what she was explaining.
The trans model explains how transphobic and homophobic the staff were and how according to them people like her did not exist. Nin stated that she had to wait until 9am the next day for her return flight, during which time she stated that she was kindly treated by the people at the airport. “I was able to see the stark difference between the people and the authorities. There were many people who really felt bad for the way I was treated,” she said.
More Power to Nin
On social media, Nin received support from all around the world; people praised her for her bravery and felt terrible for the danger they had to face. The trans model has gotten a lot of sympathy on social media, with many criticising the authorities for the horrible treatment meted out to her.
The World Needs To Change
According to Gaysifamily, most GCC nations including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have homophobic and transphobic legislation and attitudes among those in charge of executing them. Nonetheless, places like Dubai, Doha, and Muscat demonstrate such advanced attitudes – hosting worldwide personalities and events – while their laws stay the same, producing this extreme misunderstanding. Of course, none of their tourist ministries are promoting this in their ads with Indian internet influencers.