Target: Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Goal: Drop charges against transgender women arrested for expressing their identity.
Nine transgender women were attending a private birthday party when the Kelantan Islamic Department raided the party and arrested them. All pleaded guilty, and two were sentenced to one month in jail. The two sentenced to jail have been released on bail pending appeal.
The arrests arise out of the Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code that states that any male wearing female clothes or posing as a woman in public will be liable to pay a large fine or be jailed for up to four months, or both. Human Rights Watch reports that Malaysia has displayed a history of horrific abuse against the LGBTQ community. They report that Malaysia is one of the worst countries for transgender citizens, as they face harassment, sexual abuse, and ungrounded arrest by the authorities.
While many groups have been fighting for appeals against the discriminatory laws, many religious groups prevent progress. As this law is legal in twelve of the thirteen states in Malaysia, it has proven difficult to fight. A senior research for LGBTQ rights at Human Rights Watch states that it is vital for Malaysia to start making changes, starting with dropping the charges against these women. The country should be protecting its citizens, not perpetuating injustice further.
Those against these laws have asserted that the right to express one’s gender is as important as any other fundamental freedom. Support this petition to drop the charges, and to work towards equality for transgender citizens in Malaysia.
Dear Prime Minister Razak,
Nine transgender women were attending a private birthday party when the police entered and arrested them. They were charged for cross-dressing, in accordance with the law against men dressing as women. This law is upheld in twelve of the thirteen states in Malaysia. All pleaded guilty and were fined, while two were sentenced to a month in jail. They have been released on bail pending appeal.
Malaysia has been deemed one of the worst countries for transgender citizens. This is due to arbitrary arrests, sexual abuse, and consistent harassment. Taking transgender citizens to court just for being who they are and expressing themselves is against all progress towards freedom.
These laws against transgender citizens promote a toxic and fearful environment. The right to express one’s gender is as important as any other fundamental freedom, and should be protected. I urge you to drop all charges against these women, and to eliminate these laws that discriminate against transgender women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jidanni