State must prioritize Sajat’s safety, instead of fuel controversy over telekung

Justice for Sisters is deeply disappointed by the reactions to Sajat’s trip to Mecca to perform umrah (minor pilgrimage) with her family members and friends. We emphasise and recall the state’s obligation to protect human rights for all people and all citizens, regardless of their gender identity or sex characteristics.

We are concerned that the reactions and calls for investigation against Sajat and her friends, who are trans women, place them under adverse risks. Saudi Arabia criminalises trans people based on their gender expression or based on their attire. In addition, transgender and non-cisgender people face harsh challenges in travelling to Saudi Arabia.

Even more concerning is the reaction by the Minister of Religious Affairs and state muftis. Mujahid Rawa’s misplaced concerns and knee jerk reaction on this matter could further escalate concerns over the safety, security and persecution for her, her family members and friends in Malaysia and abroad. In this situation, where there are allegations of arrest and public pressure towards the travel agency, the government should take measures to ensure her safety while she is abroad, and that she safely returns to Malaysia.

The real concern is not the telekung (prayer garment), but her safety and security, the breach of privacy and the lack of rights and evidence-based response by the government on this matter.

Several documents including a copy of passport and travel documents, which allegedly state Sajat’s deadname (assigned name at birth that the person no longer identifies with) were shared doxxed or publicly on social media and the media without consent. The documents spread like wildfire, sparking harmful online comments and a shift in the way in which the media describes Sajat.

Disclosure of personal data without consent is a breach of Section 8 of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010. Instead of investigating the perpetrators who shared her alleged legal and travel documents and addressing the spread of her personal data, Mujahid and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) are in discussion regarding actions that can be taken against Sajat for sharing videos of herself in Mecca. We call Mujahid and MCMC to identify and address the root issues in this matter – the breach of privacy via doxxing, transphobia and misogyny online, gender-based violence.

Many media outlets had participated in amplifying the doxxing and breach of privacy by republishing the legal and travel documents on their platforms. In addition, the media had also begun calling Sajat by the deadname associated with her. Using her alleged deadname is extremely regressive, unethical and degrading. Compounding this problem are the barriers faced by trans, intersex, non-binary and people of non-cisgender identities to change their details in their legal documents to reflect their authentic self. These barriers violate a person’s privacy and increase vulnerability to humiliation, discrimination, blackmail, threats, and violence, as evidenced by this case. Regardless of what is stated in the legal documents, we must respect and affirm a person’s gender identity. Using the name and pronouns that a person identifies with is a very basic form of respect.

We are also deeply appalled by the suggestions to impose intrusive tests (hormone and other tests) and the need for scientific evidence to prove a person’s sex and gender identity. In many countries that have introduced affirming legislation for trans and intersex people, it is prohibited to ask trans and intersex persons to provide medical evidence to prove their identity due to the intrusive nature of the tests and the growing understanding of the diversity of sex and gender. Cisgender heterosexual people are not required to provide such evidence to prove their identity and existence. Most importantly, it is not the state’s role to police people’s sex and gender identity. The state’s role and obligation is to protect, fulfill and respect the human rights of all persons.

Sex and gender identity are two separate things. Sex refers to our body, and it’s often oversimplified as just our genitals. However, sex refers to a combination of genital, gonadal and chromosomal patterns. In contrast, gender identity is not visible and it is not determined by body parts. Gender manifests through the way we identify ourselves as man, woman, non-binary, agender, and many other gender identities. Multiple evidence shows gender identity is self-determined, and all people begin to have a sense of awareness and manifest their gender identity through clothing, articulation of identity in childhood.

For years, Sajat’s gender identity has been, among other things, publicly scrutinised, reported for investigation by the Islamic Departments, subjected to witch-hunts, online aggression, boycotts and violence. All of which, violates her rights to privacy, self-determination, and equality and non-discrimination. Even though all of this takes place in the public sphere, the government has yet to take actions to mitigate the harm towards her. Instead, the state sides with those who instigate hate and legitimise their actions.

Indeed, Sajat’s experiences represent the experiences of many intersex, trans, and non-binary people, who are constantly forced to be someone that they are not and are subjected to coercion to disclose and prove their gender identity and sex. We reiterate that being coerced into disclosing one’s gender identity and sex is a serious breach of privacy that triggers a domino effect in terms of gender-based discrimination.

Religion and relationship with God is personal and self-determined. We firmly believe that all people have the right to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance in accordance with Article 18 of the universal declaration of human rights on freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

We call for the government to refrain from being reactionary, as it has harmful unintended consequences. The government should engage with LGBTIQ human rights groups in order to effectively respond to these issues and address the root causes of gender discrimination and human rights violations against intersex, transgender, non binary persons.

Terms (source GLAAD’s media guide, UN free & equal fact sheet: intersex

Trans – Used as shorthand to mean transgender – or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella.

Transgender – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression ‘differs’ from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. mak nyah is a colloquial term used for trans women. Wanita or perempuan transgender or trans are other acceptable terms for trans women. Lelaki transgender refer to trans men.

Intersex – Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all. Khunsa is a term used for intersex persons in Malaysia.

Non binary – Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms

Cisgender – A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as,” and is therefore an antonym of “trans-.” A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.

 

Malaysian government must take urgent and meaningful actions to curb the increasing discrimination and violence against transgender persons

In conjunction with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on 20 November 2019, we commemorate the lives of trans and gender diverse persons lost to hate crimes and anti-transgender violence.

Between November 2018 and November 2019, 331 trans and gender diverse people were reported killed globally. A large majority of the victims of these senseless killings were sex workers.

In Malaysia, at least 4 cases of murder of trans women were reported between November 2018 and October 2019:

    • December 2018 – A trans woman, allegedly a sex worker from was beaten to death by a group of men allegedly over a stolen hand phone. She died due to severe head injuries caused by a blunt object. Her case was investigated as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code. However, the outcome of the case is unknown.
    •  January 2019 – A trans woman from Sabah, allegedly a sex worker in Klang was found murdered. The perpetrator alleged that the woman stole his hand phone and jumped out of the car when she was confronted for the theft. Her case was investigated. However, the outcome of the case is unknown.
    • October 2019 – A trans woman of Thai nationality was found dead in a hotel in Langkawi. Her body was found a few days after the murder. The status of investigation of this case is unknown
    • October 2019 – A trans woman in Perak was reportedly murdered. The case was either unreported or misreported and was discovered through community networks.

While cases of hate crimes and murders are underreported and misreported (as victims are often misgendered), there is an upward trend of murders in the last 3 years. Between 2017 and 2019 alone, at least 9 cases of murders have been reported. This makes up 47% of the total 19 cases that have been recorded between 2007 and October 2019 (13 years).

The increasing trend of murders and violence also correlate with the increasing transphobia and discrimination against trans people in Malaysia that remains unaddressed. This is further exacerbated by discriminatory laws, policies and state-funded programmes that reinforce exclusion, misinformation and impunity in relation to violence and discrimination against trans people.

Case in point, a recent media report on Astro Awani of a murder of a gay man in the United States. Online users, among others, applauded the perpetrator of killing the gay man, some going as far as to encourage similar acts of violence against LGBT persons in Malaysia. This is not an isolated incident. On many other occasions, often in the name of religion, online users have called for, promoted and condoned violence towards trans, gender diverse and LGBTQ people.

In the case of a brutal attack of  a trans woman in Negeri Sembilan in August 2018 at the height of the anti-LGBT sentiments online and offline post elections, the victim reported that the perpetrators attacked her because they ‘do not like LGBT’. While the woman was brutally assaulted by a group of men, resulting in broken ribs, backbone, and a ruptured spleen, the case was not classified by the police as a hate crime.

Other issues

There are a few trends and issues that we would like to highlight:

    •   In many of these cases, the police are quick to dismiss the element of hate crime in these cases despite the brutal violence experienced by the victim. The lack of gender-sensitive and a rights-based approach in analysing the crimes does not allow the police and the government to understand the trend of violence and increased vulnerability experienced by trans people, and design adequate and meaningful response to address violence against trans people.
    •  These cases also show a trend of victim blaming. In many of these cases perpetrators often accuse the victim of soliciting sex, theft or other reasons that reinforce prejudice towards trans women, preventing trans women getting the justice that they deserve.
    •   Family members can be a barrier in seeking justice for the murdered trans women. In some cases, family members do not wish to seek justice due to the stigma towards trans people.
    •   The media attention on these cases is also often limited to the initial reporting of the murder. Continuous attention by the media on the cases of murder will assist in keeping track of the cases.

We believe violence against trans and gender diverse persons can be addressed and eliminated. We call the government to engage transgender human rights groups, address the escalating hateful speech against trans and gender diverse persons, train and raise awareness regarding transgender persons and gender identities among all government staff using rights and evidence-based approach, and take meaningful measures to end all forms of discrimination against trans people.

 

HENTIKAN KECAMAN & PEMPOLITIKAN PELANTIKAN RANIA MEDINA SEBAGAI AHLI CCM

Justice for Sisters memandang serius kecaman dan pempolitikan perlantikan Rania Zara Medina sebagai ahli Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

Perlantikan Rania adalah berdasarkan proses undian dan temuduga oleh komuniti wanita transgender yang berlangsung pada April 2019.

Malaysia sebagai penerima dana Global Fund bagi respons HIV telah menginstitusikan CCM sejak 2009, dibawah pemerintahan Kerajaan Barisan Nasional lagi. Oleh demikian tidak timbul persoalan berkenaan konspirasi kerajaan Pakatan Harapan and komuniti LGBT sepertimana yang diwar-warkan oleh beberapa pihak.

CCM merupakan mekanisme yang melibatkan gabungan agensi kerajaan, organisasi masyarakat sivil atau civil society organizations (CSO), kumpulan agama, ahli akademik antara lain. Wakil CSO terdiri daripada wakil komuniti individu yang hidup dengan HIV, orang muda, wanita transgender, pengguna dadah, pekerja seks, men who have sex with men (MSM).

Setiap komuniti diwakili seorang calon daripada komuniti itu sendiri untuk memastikan isu-isu yang dialami oleh setiap komuniti berkenaan HIV diwakili sewajarnya serta dapat dibincangkan dengan lebih tepat dan menyeluruh. Harus juga disedari bahawa mekanisme CCM ini memberikan peluang kepada komuniti yang selalunya didiskriminasi, distigma dan mengalami perwakilan yang rendah untuk mewakili isu masing-masing.

CCM merupakan mekanisme dan model interdisciplinary yang baik untuk mengolah program dan intervensi HIV yang selaras dengan keperluan komunti masing-masing, memantau implementasi program HIV antara lain. Secara keseluruhannya mekanisme CCM membantu kerajaan untuk mencapai sasaran kerajaan dan global iaitu mencapai sifar HIV atau zero HIV menjelang 2030.

Justice for Sister memandang serius reaksi kumpulan-kumpulan konservatif, media dan parti politik yang mempolitikan dan mensensasikan isu perlantikan Rania. Khususnya, kami memandang serius penyebaran gambar Rania di zaman persekolahan bagi tujuan mengaibkan beliau. Pihak media dan orang ramai haruslah menghormati identiti dan martabat diri seseorang, termasuklah individu transgender.

Kami juga menyeru parti politik untuk bertindak rasional dan tidak beremosi dalam isu ini untuk mengurang salah faham, diskriminasi dan ketegangan atau konflik dalam masyarakat terhadap individu transgender. Selain itu, reaksi negatif ini khususnya membawa kemudaratan yang tinggi kepada privasi dan keselamatan diri Rania dan individu transgender lain. Parti politik dan juga pihak-pihak lain haruslah sensitif dan bertanggungjawab dalam menilai kesan reaksi mereka.

Kami mengambil kesempatan ini juga untuk menegaskan bahawa wanita transgender adalah juga sebahagian daripada kepelbagaian umat manusia. Pemahaman berkenaan individu transgender di Malaysia adalah sangat negatif dan tidak berasaskan fakta atau pengalaman hidup individu transgender. Hal ini meneruskan lagi stigma dan diskriminasi terhadap individu transgender. Kami menegaskan bahawa Artikel 5 dan 8 Perlembagaan Persekutuan memelihara martabat diri seseorang dan melindungi rakyat Malaysia daripada diskriminsasi berdasarkan gender dan status lain.

Evidence of State-sponsored Violence And Discrimination Against LGBT Persons In Malaysia

In March 2019, Malaysian human rights defender Numan Afifi made an intervention at the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Adoption Reports at the Human Rights Council, Geneva. Amidst scrutiny over interventions by civil society organizations, MACSA and WAFIQ claimed that Numan’s statement was misleading because he used the phrase ‘state-sponsored violence’ to describe state-sponsored anti-LGBT programmes. We are here to clarify the phrase ‘state-sponsored violence’ and offer evidence in support of his intervention.

State-sponsored discrimination and violence refers to any form of mistreatment, violations, and aggressions resulting from the state’s action. The state’s actions could include the enactment of discriminatory laws, policies or directives; allocation of funds for discriminatory activities; and actions or speeches that are hateful, degrading, exclusionary, or incite violence against a group. Violence also refers to the collective harm –psychological, emotional and physical– that the LGBT population in Malaysia have experienced and are experiencing due to state’s actions.

In Malaysia, LGBT people are criminalised through many federal and state laws. There are also multiple government-initiated anti-LGBT programmes, overseen by the Prime Minister’s Department and JAKIM since 2011, most of which focus on rehabilitation and conversion of LGBT persons.

On 23 July 2018, Mujahid Rawa, the Minister at the Prime Minister Department for Religious Affairs, listed the government-sponsored LGBT programmes in Parliament:

    • JAKIM’s voluntary treatment and rehabilitation programme, ‘Ilaj Wa Syifa’;
    • The Mukhayyam program – a 3-day camp introduced in 2011, it was designed as a strategy to reduce HIV transmission among key affected populations, namely Muslim trans women. The programme, listed in the National Strategic Plan to End AIDS 2016-2030, has a few goals: create awareness about HIV, Islam and being a good Muslim; offer job placement and financial assistance for startups; and encourage participants to abandon immoral behaviour, including one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The government on multiple occasions has promoted the Mukhayyam programme as a rehabilitation camp. This was further reinforced by the Director of JAKIM, who was quoted in an article in July 2017 saying that the programme aims to guide and provide spiritual awareness for the LGBT community through a religious approach to return the participants ‘to the right path’. He noted that participants had changed their appearance, managed their romantic attractions and abandoned their homosexual behaviour. There are also Mukhayyam camps for gay men and lesbian women.The Malaysian AIDS Council has also issued a statement denouncing the harmful effects of Mukhayyam.;
    • Various seminars and programs have been conducted targeting students, school counsellors, parents, volunteers, health staff and representatives of Muslim NGOs, that encourage people to avoid committing ‘LGBT acts’, and encourage others to identify and curb ‘LGBT behaviours’ within their families, social circles, and workplace;
    • Outreach activities: JAKIM claimed they had reached out to over 2,000 LGBT people between 2006 and 2014 to return them “to the right path” through its volunteer and outreach programmes;
    • JAKIM’s e-book ‘Panduan Hijrah Diri’ (available on Google Play Store), and other publications, including a compilation of hadith on ‘LGBT acts’ and a brochure ‘Memahami LGBT dari Perspektif Seorang Muslim’ (Understanding LGBT from a Muslim’s perspective), which promotes  conversion practices.
    • A 5-year action plan Pelan Tindakan Menangani Gejala Sosial Perlakuan LGBT  (Action Plan to address Social Ills LGBT behavior). Alongside 22 partners, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Sport and Youth, Ministry of Women, Development and Community, state Islamic departments and other state agencies, the action plan introduced in July 2016 aims to proactively and efficiently curb ‘LGBT behavior’.

These state-sponsored activities are harmful by design as they employ rehabilitation and conversion practices which aim to curb and suppress the actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of LGBT persons. They also encourage others to intervene in the private and public lives of LGBT persons.

Scientific evidence and studies show that rehabilitation and conversion of LGBT persons result in prolonged psychological harm not only in LGBT persons, but also their family members and loved ones. These harmful practices have been widely rejected by global scientific bodies, medical institutions, and human rights groups. As a result, more countries are increasingly prohibiting conversion practices.

Based on our documentation and anecdotal evidence, LGBT people participate in these government programmes for a variety of reasons. Trans women, in particular, participate in these programmes to seek financial assistance to start small businesses, to avoid being arrested, to network, and to advance their knowledge of Islam. Therefore, the needs of the participants speak to larger and systemic discriminations faced by trans and LGBT persons in accessing employment, freedom of movement, and inclusive and non-judgemental religious spaces. These are the urgent needs of LGBT people that the government should address.

MACSA and WAFIQ argue that the right to participate in these programmes is a religious right of LGBT persons. We maintain that conversion practices cannot be viewed as a religious right. By definition, the assertion of one human rights claim cannot be used to extinguish other rights. Imposing conditions that require LGBT persons to subject themselves to be changed in order to be accepted by their families and Malaysian society is a violent form of discrimination that violates their right to dignity, safety, health, movement, among others.

Moreover, these government-sponsored programmes reinforce misinformation regarding LGBT people, such as the myths that ‘LGBT behaviours’ are caused by hormonal imbalances, psychological disorders, excessive sexual desires, or a lack of parental or spiritual guidance; that LGBT persons deliberately defy cultural, religious, and societal norms; that LGBT persons are the sole vectors of HIV; and that LGBT identities can be corrected. These have all been widely refuted and debunked by major institutions.

When the Malaysian government funds, produces, and spreads such negative views about LGBT persons, it is not surprising that the public adopts these myths as facts. These government efforts manifest in increased aggression, discrimination and violence against LGBT people in physical spaces and social media, with impunity for perpetrators. In the last few years, the government’s position has directly resulted in the proliferation of anti-LGBT groups that promote rehabilitation practices, anti-LGBT campaigns online and in educational institutions, and violent crimes against LGBT persons.

When these violent acts are seen as “corrective”, they become normalised and accepted by the public. As government endorses discrimination, the Malaysian public too does not see their rejection of LGBT persons as a form of discrimination. Given the climate of fear and rejection in which LGBT people live, LGBT people are faced with limited options for survival and acceptance. Their “voluntary” participation to rehabilitation programmes must take into account the fact that they live in an environment that punishes them for their identities and that pressures them to change.

These state-sponsored activities deprive LGBT people of their right to live with dignity, as enshrined in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. The state has an obligation to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of all persons. We call on the government to immediately end the investigation towards Numan Afifi and other human rights defenders in the course of defending the human rights of LGBT persons. We also call on the government to engage LGBT human rights groups and review its current policies, activities and practices in relation to LGBT persons.

Endorsed by:

    1. Justice for Sisters
    2. Queer Lapis
    3. Seksualiti Merdeka
    4. L-INC Foundation
    5. Beyond Borders
    6. PLUHO, People Like Us Hang Out!
    7. PLUsos (People Like Us Support Ourselves)
    8. PELANGI Campaign
    9. Our Journey, Malaysia
    10. KLSCAH Youth
    11. KL Queer Women Discussion Group
    12. Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists
    13. The Malaysian Feminist
    14. Transmen of Malaysia
    15. All Women Action Society (AWAM)
    16. The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
    17. Tenaganita
    18. North South Initiative (NSI)
    19. Parti Sosialis Malaysia
    20. Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG)
    21. Community Development Centre (CDC)
    22. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
    23. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
    24. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
    25. Center of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERIA)
    26. Queer Academics, Students and Supporters Alliance (QUASSA)
    27. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
    28. Diversity
    29. Projek Ilmu Seks
    30. Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC)
    31. Malaysia Muda
    32. PT Foundation
    33. SEED Malaysia
    34. Pertubuhuan Kebajikan dan Kesihatan Umum (PPKUM)
    35. BIKAR ALAM
    36. BENTARAKATA
    37. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
    38. GERAK (Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia)
    39. Women Center for Change (WCC)
    40. Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)
    41. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

References

Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (2009),

The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (2009) concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) practitioners and advocates.

The report affirms that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity. The task force concluded that the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation. The report recommends affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.

WPA Position Statement on Gender Identity and Same-Sex Orientation, Attraction, and Behaviours

The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) recognises the universality of same-sex expression, across cultures. It holds the position that a same-sex sexual orientation per se does not imply objective psychological dysfunction or impairment in judgement, stability, or vocational capabilities. WPA considers same-sex attraction, orientation, and behaviour as normal variants of human sexuality. It recognises the multi-factorial causation of human sexuality, orientation, behaviour, and lifestyle. It acknowledges the lack of scientific efficacy of treatments that attempt to change sexual orientation and highlights the harm and adverse effects of such “therapies”.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)’s statement on conversion therapy  

In 2012, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) stated that purport to “cure” people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people. Additionally, PAHO also emphasized that therapy to change sexual orientation brings ‘a serious threat to the health and well-being—even the lives—of affected people.’

The Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment A/HRC/22/53

The Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment released in 2013 views conversion or reparative therapies as a form of torture and explicitly calls ‘all States to repeal any law allowing intrusive and irreversible treatments, including forced genital-normalizing surgery, involuntary sterilization, unethical experimentation, medical display, “reparative therapies” or “conversion therapies”, when enforced or administered without the free and informed consent of the person concerned.”

Preliminary observations and recommendations by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health Mr. Dainius Pūras Country Visit to Malaysia, 19 November to 2 December 2014

The special rapporteur on health during his visit to Malaysia in November 2014 expressed concerns over the “so-called “corrective therapies” by the state agencies.

Such therapies are not only unacceptable from a human rights perspective, but they are also against scientific evidence, and have a serious negative impact on the mental health and well-being of adolescents. State-led programs to identify, “expose”, and punish LGBT children have contributed to a detrimental educational environment where the inherent dignity of the child is not respected, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is encouraged.”

International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)

International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) removed of all trans-related diagnoses from the mental disorders chapter as ‘evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender, there remain significant health care needs that can best be met if the condition is coded under the ICD.’ Gender incongruence is now reclassified under sexual health conditions in the ICD-11.

American Psychiatric Association, Gender Dysphoria

DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria,” as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition. … Replacing “disorder” with “dysphoria” in the diagnostic label is not only more appropriate and consistent with familiar clinical sexology terminology, it also removes the connotation that the patient is “disordered”.

The American Psychological Association (APA) removes homosexuality from the DSM

The American Psychological Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) in the 1975, as “research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology” and “heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality.”

Meyer (2003): Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: Conceptual Issues and Research Evidence.

The prevalence of mental disorders in lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs)… shows, using meta-analyses, that LGBs have a higher prevalence of mental disorders than heterosexuals. The author offers a conceptual framework for understanding this excess in prevalence of disorder in terms of minority stress—explaining that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination create a hostile and stressful social environment that causes mental health problems.

Brief media analysis: Media coverage of a Filipina trans woman’s case

A trans woman was arrested and detained in connection to a nude incident in Kuala Lumpur on 13 March 2019. The video of the incident had also gone viral, and received extensive sensational media coverage.

The analysis is based on 27 news reports – 18 in BM and 9 in English – in relation to the case of the Filipina trans woman published on 13, 14, 20 and 21 March 2019.  20 out of the 27 reports had misgendered the trans woman

  • 5 out of the 9 english news reports had misgendered the trans woman. All 5 articles were sourced from bernama
  • 15 out of the 18 articles in BM had misgendered the trans woman. 3 were sourced by bernama

8 out of 11 news reports on 21 March featured a photo of the trans woman with the police officers outside the courtroom. Only 1 out of 8 articles that featured her photo had pixelated her face. 7 out 8 articles exposed her face in the photos.

 

Terms used to identify the trans woman

  • Lelaki (10)
  • Mak Nyah (4)
  • Transgender (3)
  • Pondan (3)
  • Lelaki berperwatakan wanita (3)
  • He (3)
  • Male (2)
  • Individu (2)
  • Transwoman (1)
  • She (1)
  • Lady (1)
Date Number

of articles BM

Number of articles

ENG

Articles Outlet Misgendered

(X  – yes)

13 March 4 2 Dancing in the street: Transgender goes stark naked in Bukit Bintang The star
Naked Transgender Spotted Dancing and Running Up Cars in Bukit Bintang World of buzz
‘Mak nyah’ bogel berjalan, menari tengah jalan gemparkan warga kota! Awani X
[VIDEO] Lelaki berbogel di Bukit Bintang Utusan X
Lelaki warga Filipina berbogel di Bukit Bintang Berita harian X
Pondan bogel ‘catwalk’ tengah kota [METROTV] Harian metro X
14 March 2 1 Dancing transgender in Bukit Bintang remanded for 14 days The star (video)
Pondan berbogel di Bukit Bintang direman 14 hari Berita harian X
Mak nyah bogel tiada masalah mental Harian Metro
20 March 4 2 Pelancong Filipina didakwa berkelakuan tidak sopan dengan panjat kereta sambil berbogel Bernama X
[UPDATE] Mak nyah bogel ‘menginap’ di penjara Harian metro
Pelancong Filipina didakwa panjat kereta sambil berbogel Mkni (bernama) X
Warga Filipina berbogel panjat kereta di tempat awam didakwa Malaysian insight X
Filipino tourist charged with indecent behaviour after Bukit Bintang strip-off Malaymail X
Filipino tourist who strolled naked in centre of KL charged FMT X
21 March 8 4 Filipino trans woman pleads not guilty to public obscenity NST
Second charge for Filipino tourist who strolled naked in KL FMT X
Filipino tourist charged for strolling naked in KL The sun X
Filipino tourist charged with insulting public’s modesty Bernama X
Mak nyah bogel dihantar ke Penjara Sungai Buloh Kosmo
Bogel di tempat awam: Pelancong Filipina didakwa lagi Sinar harian X
Video tular, pelancong bogel didakwa di mahkamah Bernama X
Pelancong Filipina didakwa ganggu kesantunan orang awam dengan berbogel di Jalan Sultan Ismail Awani X
Pondan tak mengaku ganggu kesantunan Utusan X
Pondan Bogel Di Jalan Imbi Dihantar Penjara Warta daily X
Pelancong Filipina didakwa lagi ganggu kesantunan orang awam dengan berbogel Bernama X
Pondan bogel ditahan di penjara BH X
Total 18 9 20

 

Articles published on 21 March 2019 (on second charge)

Title Media outlet Terms used Misgendered Name as per IC revealed Photo
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Apply Standing Orders towards offensive speech against LGBT people

Justice for Sisters is deeply horrified by the discriminatory and offensive speeches and language used in Parliament by several Members of Parliament (MP) in relation to LGBT people on 14 and 18 March 2019 — and that these repeated discriminatory speeches against LGBT people have gone unchecked.

Particularly since the Women’s Day March, debates in Parliament have been tainted by the use of degrading and dehumanizing language such as ‘jijik’ (disgusting) and ‘songsang (deviant); sexual innuendos; comparisons of LGBT people to animals; and calls for the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of LGBT persons in Malaysia. These are all forms of extreme, discriminatory and offensive speech that incite hate and violence towards LGBT people.

Furthermore, these discriminatory and anti-LGBT statements are repeatedly made by a handful of people. These repeat offenders include Dato’ Dr. Haji Noor Azmi bin Ghazali [PH- Bagan Serai], and Puan Hajah Siti Zailah binti Mohd Yusoff [PAS-Rantau Panjang].

It is even more disturbing to note Puan Hajah Siti Zailah’s prejudicial sentiments, given the fact she is on the Parliament Select Committee on Gender and Rights. This Committee and its members are guided by the standards set by the UN conventions Malaysia has ratified and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This means upholding the human rights principles and values of equality, non-discrimination, dignity, diversity, respect, and choice for all persons.

Articles 36(4) and 36(10)(c) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat give guidance to MPs against speaking offensively and promoting feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities in our country. And yet, in sessions on 14 and 18 March, the MPs were allowed to make vile, hysterical, non-evidence based and fear-mongering statements about LGBT people without consequences.

We call on the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to act on their duty to all Malaysian people to apply the Standing Orders, to which all MPs are bound, and to uphold the fundamental rights and protections that all Malaysian people are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. Just as any MP could – and should – invoke these articles to call out offensive speech against groups of people based on their ethnicity, religion or other identities, we call on the Speaker and other MPs to call out those who make offensive remarks against LGBT persons.

Homophobia and transphobia is the same as racism, sexism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination. No religion allows discrimination, violence and coercion towards others. Homophobia and transphobia is not limited LGBTIQ persons. Especially in the Malaysian context, many people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, experience discrimination based on their association with LGBT people or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition, over the past few years, we have seen an increase of violence, hate crimes and discrimination against LGBT people by diverse actors in various spaces, including educational institutions, workplaces, and homes. We are also seeing an increase of vigilante and anti-LGBT groups employing variousmethods to punish and rehabilitate LGBT people. We are concerned that these statements by public officials will further increase misinformation about and sanction violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Malaysia, with no consequences for the perpetrators.

In ensuring a Malaysia that is harmonious, peaceful and safe for all persons, the speaker of Parliament and MPs have a duty to intervene in discriminatory speeches against LGBT persons, as these speeches have adverse impacts on the perception, attitude and treatment of not only LGBT people, but those who also support the human rights of LGBT persons in Malaysia. Justice for Sisters looks forward to working with the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and MPs who are committed to the wellbeing of all Malaysians and everyone who calls this country home.

ENDS/=

 

Standing Orders of the DEWAN RAKYAT

36 (4) It shall be out of order for Members of the House to use offensive language or make a sexist remark.

36 (10) It shall be out of order to use –

  • (c)  words which are likely to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities in the Federation or infringe any provision of the Constitution or the Sedition Act 1948.

 

Members of Parliament who have made discriminatory and offensive remarks against LGBT people in Parliament

Parliament session 1 (16 July – 16 August 2018)

  • Puan Hajah Siti Zailah binti Mohd Yusoff [Rantau Panjang] (multiple times)
  • Tuan Haji Ahmad Amzad bin Mohamed @ Hashim [Kuala Terengganu] (multiple times)
  • Dato’ Dr. Noor Azmi bin Ghazali [Bagan Serai] (multiple times)
  • Dato’ Haji Ahmad Nazlan bin Idris [Jerantut] (multiple times)
  • Ustaz Haji Hassanudin [Hulu Langat] (multiple times)
  • Dato’ Tuan Ibrahim bin Tuan Man [Kubang Kerian]
  • Dato’ Hajah Azizah binti Mohd Dun [Beaufort]

 

Parliament session 2 (15 October – 11 December 2018)

  • Puan Hajah Siti Zailah binti Mohd Yusoff [Rantau Panjang] (multiple times)
  • Tuan Haji Ahmad Amzad bin Mohamed @ Hashim [Kuala Terengganu]
  • Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi [Bagan Datuk]
  • Tuan Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad [Setiawangsa]
  • Dato’ Tuan Ibrahim bin Tuan Man [Kubang Kerian]
  • Dato’ Dr. Mohd Khairuddin bin Aman Razali [Kuala Nerus]
  • Datin Mastura binti Mohd Yazid [Kuala Kangsar]
  • Datuk Seri Haji Ahmad bin Haji Maslan [Pontian]
  • Dato’ Sri Bung Moktar bin Radin [Kinabatangan]

 

Parliament session 3 (11 March – on-going)

  • Dato’ Dr. Haji Noor Azmi bin Ghazali [Bagan Serai] (multiple times)
  • Puan Hajah Siti Zailah binti Mohd Yusoff [Rantau Panjang]
  • Datuk Haji Hasanuddin bin Mohd Yunus [Hulu Langat]
  • Tuan Haji Awang bin Hashim [Pendang]
  • Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob [Bera]
  • Tuan Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer a/l Rajaji [Jelutong]