A champion shot-putter and discus-thrower, Rabei has photos of himself as a woman towering over other female competitors, which prompted sporting authorities to raid his home looking for performance-enhancing drugs.
But his build was not enough to prompt doctors to entertain the idea that he was not a woman.
"Every time I went to hospital, they told me I was a woman," he said, adding doctors routinely failed to diagnose a lack of internal female reproductive organs. Staff at one clinic laughed when he went for tests to determine his genetic sex.
Doctors instead prescribed pills to induce menstruation and suggested an operation to open the hymen when Rabei could not consummate "her" marriage.
Rabei's lawyer, who is fighting to have his sex and name changed on official documents, said her work was not easy.
"People have been attacking me personally, asking me why I encourage sex correction. According to them, this is haram, or forbidden in Islamic and Arab society," Fouzia Janahi said.
Rabei's employers have demanded his resignation and psychiatrists have declined to counsel him for life as a man.
"I'm not saying I'm not under intense pressure, but as long as what I'm doing is right medically, religiously and legally, I don't care what people say," he said. "Praise God, I feel like I'm a man, I feel like I'm myself."
I feel like myself. I took a different route, and in the opposite direction, but I know exactly how he feels.