Target: Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Goal: End discrimination against transgender people in Malaysia
Transgender people in Malaysia face bias, prejudice, and even criminal prosecution under draconian laws that prohibit ‘cross-dressing.’ According to a report by Human Rights Watch, transgender people, especially trans women, face discrimination in accessing employment, health care, education, and housing. They are also subjected to abuse, assault, extortion, and violations of their privacy rights by authorities belonging to state religious departments.
The 73-page report, “I’m Scared to Be a Woman,” documents government abuses against trans people in Malaysia and reveals horrific stories of sexual and physical assault at the hands of Malaysian officials, Religious Department officials, and the police.Trans women are also subjected to punishments for violations of state-level Sharia, or Islamic Law Ordinances. Since the 1980s, institutionalized discrimination, such as laws that prohibit men from dressing like women and the criminalization of women “posing” as men, has plagued the transgender community, causing many to live in fear.
Trans men and women not only face inequity from the government, but from state officials, agents, public sector workers, and teachers as well. When transgender women and men visit hospitals, many nurses and doctors refuse to treat them. They are also fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or denied sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy, which are essential to many transgender people’s identities.
While Malaysia’s trans community has fought tirelessly, recently filing a groundbreaking court case challenging Sharia Law, state religious departments have mistaken activism for ‘public indecency’ or rioting, and have used such cases to conduct mass arrests.
The abusive treatment of trans people by Malaysia’s government and religious authorities violates the country’s own federal constitution and international human rights laws. Sign the petition to urge Prime Minister Najib Razak to repeal all laws that discriminate against trans men and women.
Dear Prime Minister Najib Razak,
It has recently come to my attention that Malaysia’s government and state Religious Departments severely discriminate against the country’s trans community. Trans men and women have reported cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by police, almost on a daily basis. According to a Human Rights Watch report, one trans woman recalled being arrested more than twenty times for ‘cross dressing’ and ‘public indecency.’ These arbitrary arrests are then followed by sexual assaults, physical abuse, and even criminal prosecution. The Malaysian government has even stooped so low as to raid a wedding and make arrests of over a dozen trans women.
This unnecessary prejudice must end now as Malaysia’s government continually violates international human rights law and its own federal constitution, like the right to freedom of expression, equal protection, and freedom of movement. Trans people in Malaysia risk their lives everyday by stepping out of their doors, simply because of the way they express themselves. No one should be subjected to such senseless violence and dehumanization by their own government.
I urge you to repeal all laws and regulations that discriminate against trans men and women and to create non-discrimination legislation that prohibits bias based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: torbakhopper via Wikimedia Commons