Strike Down Law Prohibiting Transgender Expression


Target: Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak

Goal: Repeal a law limiting the expression of gender identity in Malaysia

Recently three transgender women filed a court case challenging a law that prohibits them from expressing their gender identity. The Putrajaya Court of Appeal is expected to hear their case soon and many are hoping that this repressive law will be struck down.

Hailing from the state of Negeri Sembilan the three women are demanding that the court repeal a local law prohibiting “any male person who, in any public place, wears a woman’s attire or poses as a woman.” All three identify as female, but their national identification cards say that they are male; because they dress in female attire they can therefore be arrested. Officials have arrested many transgender women because of this law, which is in direct violation of their right to freedom of expression.

These women face daily harassment for being who they are. A research team from Human Rights Watch found that many Malaysian officials and police subjected transgender women to abuse including sexual and physical assault, extortion and violations of privacy rights. Those who are arrested face counseling on what it means to be a man, and some are even sent to prison.

Penalties for dressing up as a woman vary by state. In Negeri Sembilan convicted offenders can be sentenced to six months in prison and be fined up to $325. The state also criminalizes females dressing up as males, but few transgender men have been arrested under this law.

This repressive legislation violates individuals’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Everyone should be free to express themselves as they wish without facing abuse, humiliation or time behind bars. Urge the Prime Minister of Malaysia to strike down this unjust law.


Dear Prime Minster Razak,

Currently there is a law in your country punishing men for dressing or identifying as women. This law is in direct violation of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. It is outrageous that a Malaysian citizen could be thrown in jail or fined because of how they dress. Do the police have nothing better to do than to arrest peaceful citizens?

Your people should have the right to dress how they wish without facing punishment. Your authorities’ time and efforts would be better spent elsewhere and the happiness of your citizens would be greatly improved. I urge you to repeal this repressive law and end the persecution of transgender Malaysians.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Malaysian Government via Wikimedia

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One Comment

  1. Now that Hagel has said there’s no reason to exclude transgender enlistees from the U.S. military, will they be safe if this Govt. decides U.S. military presence is needed in Malaysia at some point in time?

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