Stop Transgender Inequality in Malaysia


Target: Perdana Menteri, Prime Minister of Malaysia

Goal: End discrimination and violence against transgender people in Malaysia

Despite the strides that have been made in the fight for LGBT rights and equality, there are still some countries exercising draconian laws in an effort to continue discrimination and perpetuate violence against marginalized peoples. In Malaysia, it is deemed illegal to “cross dress,” which is a direct violation of transgender women’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

Islamic law courts in Malaysia have been cold-hardheartedly targeting transgender women and convicting them of having “mannerisms that are too feminine,” or for “posing as women.” Under that state’s Sharia law, it is legal to criminalize “a male person [for] posing as a woman.” Even further, many of these transgender women face abuse at the hands of law enforcement officials who freely spew epithets and use unnecessary physical violence. Their gender identities are also stripped from them as prison officials place them in high-risk male wards and forcibly shave their heads.

All of Malaysia’s 13 states and federal territories criminalize transgender women, and at least three states criminalize transgender men, solely on the basis of how they dress. The Malaysian courts also make it difficult for transgender women to make bail and for their families to free them from prison with exorbitant sureties and impossible obstacles. Transgender women are also denied access to a lawyer.

Sadly, the discrimination doesn’t end there. Malaysia’s National Registration Department also refuses to allow transgender people to change their gender markers on identity cards, further proving that the government doesn’t care about LGBT rights or its transgender population.

Malaysia’s religious department officials have rampantly discriminated against transgender men and women for far too long, with little to no concern for human rights, freedom of expression or equality. Sign the petition to tell Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Perdana Menteri, to end discrimination and violence against transgender people in Malaysia.


Dear Prime Minister Perdana Menteri,

For far too long transgender rights in Malaysia have not been a priority, and as a result, many transgender people face unnecessary violence, injustice and discrimination. The recent arrest and sentencing of 16 transgender women marks one of the biggest violations to human rights by your country. Held on exorbitant bails, abused, beaten, and degraded, these transgender women were forced to give up their identities at the hands of overzealous law enforcement officials looking to bully innocent people, simply for who they are.

It is appalling that all 13 states of Malaysia discriminate against transgender women and criminalize transgender men, solely on the basis of how they dress. Your country’s “cross-dressing law” needs to be abolished, as it thwarts freedom of expression, equal protection, and freedom of movement. LGBT rights are human rights and no transgender person should have to endure hurtful discrimination by the government whose duty it is to protect, represent and respect them.

I urge you to rectify your draconian laws and protect LGBT Malaysian people, as well as  your neglected transgender population, from further injustice.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jidanni via Wikimedia Commons

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