MAC, Terengganu govt discuss plight of transgender community

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) held a meeting with the Terengganu state government to discuss the plight of transgender community.

In a statement, MAC deputy secretary-general Elisha Kor Krishnan said a meeting with state executive councillor Ghazali Taib on Monday (Jan 15) was refreshing as they were able to push issues concerning the community.

Read more

Malaysian transgender conversion plan sparks alarm

Source: The Malay Mail Online

File picture shows supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― A Malaysian state plans to run a conversion therapy course aimed at transgender women, officials said today, sparking alarm among LGBT activists in the conservative Muslim-majority country.

The course would run over several days next year after authorities had completed a survey of the transgender population, a Terengganu state official said.

Participation in the course would be voluntary, Ghazali said, adding that the programme would include medical, psychological and religious experts, as well as transgender women who have “returned to normal lives”. Read more

Learn about us first, transgender activist tells Terengganu over proposed rehab course

Source: The Malay Mail Online

LGBT activist Nisha Ayub — Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — A transgender activist has lashed at Terengganu state executive committee member Ghazali Taib for proposing an “awareness course” aimed at bringing the community “back to the right path”.

Nisha Ayub from Justice for Sisters said today that state authorities should first educate themselves on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and the history of the community here, before even trying to organise any outreach programme.

“Stop assuming that you can change a person into the mould of your own beliefs or understanding. This is not about a puppet but about a human being,” Nisha said in a statement on her Facebook page. Read more

Malaysian transgender trailblazer Khartini named regional ‘hero’

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Transgender activist Khartini Slamah was among the 21 finalists selected from over 350 nominations across the region, and ended up being one of the eight activists awarded. ― Picture courtesy of APCOM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 ― Local transgender activist Khartini Slamah, who was among the first to mobilise the community in the late 1980s, was feted with a Hero Award by Bangkok-based regional sexual minorities advocacy group APCOM last night.

Khartini, known to her friends as Kak Tini, was among the 21 finalists selected from over 350 nominations across the region, and ended up being one of the eight activists awarded.

“Khartini Slamah is Malaysia’s esteemed transgender activist who dedicated service to transgender rights and health,” the group said in a social media post announcing Khartini’s Hero Award in the “Transgender Hero” category. Read more

Watchdog calls for end to state laws criminalising gender, sexual identity

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Taylor’s University had explained that it cancelled LGBT awareness event at its campus because the organisers did not obtain its approval. — AFP pic

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Malaysia noted that attacks against trans women have become increasingly brutal. — AFP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Malaysian laws criminalising activities like cross-dressing has led to increased discrimination and violence against transgenders and those of different sexual identities and orientations, an international human rights watchdog said.

In its latest report to the United Nations committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on Malaysia released Friday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted that attacks against these peoples, especially trans women, have become increasingly brutal.

It highlighted the February murder of a trans woman named Sameera in Kuantan, Pahang whose body was also mutilated as a recent example of the growing phobia taking against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the country.

The organisation further noted the increased frequency of state-sanctioned raids, arrests and prosecution of transgenders who are subjected to rough treatment under detention, and added that these have far-reaching socio-economic repercussions. Read more

She strives to help marginalised communities in Malaysia

Source: Star2

Through Justice for Sisters, Thilaga Sulathireh hope to raise public awareness about issues surrounding violence and persecution of the Mak Nyah community in Malaysia. Photo: The Star/Rohaizat Md Darus

Through Justice for Sisters, Thilaga Sulathireh hope to raise public awareness about issues surrounding violence and persecution of the Mak Nyah community in Malaysia. Photo: The Star/Rohaizat Md Darus

Thilaga Sulathireh is brimming with hope. The 30-year-old activist believes there is more support now for the LGBT community, a most vulnerable group in society.

“We see a lot of cis-gender, hetrosexual people speaking out against the discrimination the LGBTQ community faces and that’s really a positive step in our activism. There are limitations in Malaysia when it comes to talking about gender identity. Yet, people want to talk about it now. This is really encouraging and something we cherish.

“Take the recent murder of Sameera (in Kuantan recently) as an example … there was a huge public outcry not just within the trans community but from the general public,” says the co-founder of Justice for Sisters, a group formed to raise awareness on violence and persecution against the transgender community in Malaysia.

Thilaga’s activism began when she began volunteering with the Malaysian Aids Council (MAC) as a teenager. Read more

Dignity for Meera — Azrul Mohd Khalib

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY AZRUL MOHD KHALIB

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

FEBRUARY 27 —This past week, we have been sickened by the case of Sameera Krishnan. A worker at a florist, she was attacked by masked individuals who repeatedly shot and slashed her with an edged weapon resulting in severe wounds to her head, arms and legs. She did not survive the attack. Her body was found in the wee hours of the morning.

The reasons behind such brutality and her murder can only be speculated at this point. The degree of cruelty and savagery needed to inflict such harm on another human being is often unable to be understood or seen unless you work in criminology or law enforcement.

But for many who work who work in the area of human rights, particularly dealing with sexuality, acts of abuse and violence can be an altogether familiar story.

While this incident has been considered by police to not be a hate crime, I want to take this opportunity to once again to highlight the incidences of harassment, discrimination and abuse experienced by the transgender community.

The Federal Constitution guarantees the protection of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. It provides for all Malaysians the same fundamental rights and protections. That all persons are equal before the law and entitled to its equal protection. A person shouldn’t and cannot be singled out or criminalised for simply being who and what they are.

I hope that there will be justice for Meera and that the authorities will do all that they can to find, capture and bring the perpetrators to court. But it can be a daunting task for members of this community to look for justice when they themselves are often victims of persecution. Read more

Cops: Transgender’s murder not a hate crime

Source: The Star Online

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

KUANTAN: There is no element of hate crime in the murder of transgender woman Sameera Krishnan.

“We are looking into the victim’s past activities and also whether the murder was linked to a kidnapping case in Klang two years ago.

“We are investigating if it was an act of vengeance but there is no indication that the murder was a hate crime against a transgender individual,” said Pahang CID chief Senior Asst Commissioner Datuk Raja Shahrom Raja Abdullah.

Sameera, 26, was the main witness in her own kidnapping case, which had been set for hearing at the Shah Alam court early next month.

In the 2015 case, she was rescued by police when her captors’ car was involved in an accident with another vehicle at the Sungai Rasau toll plaza.

Early Thursday morning, Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan, after she went out to buy food.

Kuantan OCPD Asst Comm Ab­­dul Aziz Salleh said police were taking the case seriously like any other crime.

“The point is someone was murdered so police will investigate this case thoroughly according to procedure as always,” he said. Read more

Why transgenders move in groups

Source: FMT News

LGBT activist Nisha Ayub says they don't feel safe because the negative light they're painted in gives the message it's okay to harm them. Pic taken from FMT News

LGBT activist Nisha Ayub says they don’t feel safe because the negative light they’re painted in gives the message it’s okay to harm them. Pic taken from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: LGBT activist Nisha Ayub has called for an end to the negative portrayal of transgenders, saying it puts them in danger of being harmed.

“We don’t feel safe in our own country,” she told FMT.

“Look at the way we are portrayed by certain people, religious authorities and certain media. They paint us in a negative light.”

She said the negative portrayal dehumanised the transgender community and conveyed the message that it was all right to harm them.

“A lot of transgender women don’t dare to go out of their homes alone. They’ll go out only in groups.”

She said police reports about attacks on transgender persons were often treated lightly. There has even been instances when the transgender persons making the reports were blamed for the incidents, she added.

“Most of the time, transgender people don’t even want to report an incident to the police because they don’t want to face the whole scenario of being blamed for something that happened to them,” she said. Read more

Court reversal on transgender ruling shows ‘wilful ignorance’, rights group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Malaysia’s transgender community criticised today the Court of Appeal’s recent overturn of a ruling granting a trans man the right to change his registration details and be formally identified as a male.

The group and its allies, which called themselves Justice for Sisters, said the decision wilfully disregards current scientific and medical understanding of gender identity, as well as the realities and lived experiences of transgender people.

“It also displays a wilful ignorance of good practices worldwide with regards to the role of the state in its duty to uphold and protect the rights of transgender persons,” it said in a statement. Read more