Yesterday marked the 51st anniversary of late Egyptian actress Hanan Al Tawil. The occasion went almost unmarked, after all, to many, her career was nothing more than her life in the limelight. However, Al Tawil did so much more than entertain, she was the first transsexual actress in Egypt and the the region and her rise to fame was a milestone in the road to progress and equality.
To commemorate her life with a video that soon went viral, LGBTQ advocacy group 'No Hate Egypt' took to Facebook to remind us all of Al Tawil's iconic moments throughout her history. Who can forget Miss Inshira7? Or her singing scene in Askar fi el Moaskar? In her own way, Al Tawil has left her mark on Egyptian pop culture history.
Al Tawil passed away in December of 2004, yet the cause of death remains unknown. Al Tawil is rumoured to have committed suicide, a friend of hers told the group that the actress was often harassed and mocked, which gave her "severe psychological disorders."
The video ends on a sombre note, showing a transsexual Egyptian woman being assaulted on the street. In a recent survey by Vocativ, 41% of trans or gender non-conforming respondents admitted to have attempted suicide. The percentage is likely higher in Egypt with rampant transphobia and no anti-discrimination laws to deter such hate crimes.
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