Open letter: Education institutions must be safe spaces for all students

YBhg. Dato’ Sri Alias Bin Haji Ahmad – Secretary-General, Ministry of Education Malaysia

YBhg. Dato’ Suriani bt Dato’ Ahmad – Secretary-General, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development

Tan Sri Razali Ismail –  Chairperson, SUHAKAM

Datuk Paul Low – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department

We, the undersigned, strongly object the ‘Back to the Fitrah: Menyantuni LGBT Kembali ke Jalan Allah’ forum slated to take place on 24th March 2018 in University of Science Malaysia (USM) featuring two panelists, and the overall trend of increasing anti-LGBT programmes in educational institutions. In March earlier this year, USM also released a poster and short video competition inviting submissions on ‘menyantuni golongan LGBT’ (evangelizing with the intention to change one’s sexual orientation and gender identity) open to students of USM and the general public .

We are extremely concerned by the overall harmful impact of such programmes, which aim to change one’s sexual orientation and gender identity using a dakwah (missionary) approach. Despite claims of ‘menyantuni’ or ‘politely approaching’ LGBT persons, many documented cases have shown that such attempts resulted in an invasion of privacy, increase of lack of personal security and safety, increase of targeting and harassment of persons based on gender expression and actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, increase of isolation, all of which can have severe long term impact on the students academic performance, health and well-being.

Conversion, reparative or rehabilitation and efforts to change sexual orientation and gender identity have been rejected by all major national mental health organizations due to the lack of evidence that support the efficacy of these efforts or therapies, and its harmful impact. There are many forms of rehabilitation, reparative or conversion therapy, including medical and religious methods, all of which are harmful. In fact, a few countries, including Malta and parts of Canada have introduced laws to ban conversion therapy given the harm it has caused not only on LGBTIQ persons, but also the people around them.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health,  Dainius Pūras, during his country visit to Malaysia between November and December 2014 expressed concerns over the “so-called “corrective therapies” practiced by 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.”

It is therefore extremely disconcerting to witness the University’s continued endorsement of these programmes given the glaring harm on LGBTI persons. USM also organised a similar panel in March 2016. On both occasions, panelists comprised  individuals that promote the very harmful view that LGBT persons can be ‘cured’ through rehabilitation, reparative and conversion therapy. Such biased programmes are part of a rising trend in educational institutions, where anti-LGBT campaigns, harmful information that reinforce the ‘balik ke pangkal jalan’ or ‘return to the right path’ rhetoric, and rehabilitation, reparative and conversion therapy for LGBT persons are disseminated and promoted.

Such programmes create a toxic and unsafe environment for all students and staff, LGBTI and gender diverse persons in particular, and run counter to the aim of such institutions that are supposed to provide an open learning environment for all. We believe programmes like this will perpetuate toxic masculinity which enables, justifies and perpetuates the mistreatment, bullying and discrimination of LGBTI persons with impunity.

Research and recent cases reported in the media show educational institutions are unfortunately a site of violence for many students, especially for LGBTI and gender diverse persons. On the record: violence against LBT persons in Malaysia and I am scared to be a Woman, two reports on the violence and situation of LBT persons document cases of expulsion; drop out due to bullying; lack of interest to attend school because of a lack of freedom to express and be themselves compounded by non inclusive and discriminatory school policies and practices; sexual harassment and violence; physical, verbal and emotional violence; isolation among others.

“I quit school at age 11 because people around me were always bullying me. I was stressed. I felt like I was going to explode.”

– Azlene, a trans woman in Kuantan recalls her experiences in school in the mid 90s, I am scared to be a woman

“We met in May 2000 … we were talking on the phone everyday. My friends from my school knew about it because when they attend events, they could see it, right. And then they started asking, ‘What’s going on? Are you going out with this girl? Are you dating this girl? What’s going on?’ … ‘Like, you do know that it is wrong, right? It is against the religion.’ And these were not just Muslim people telling me, because I have a fair bit of friends of different religions and races and beliefs, and they all said the same thing. ‘Stacy, it is wrong. What the hell is wrong with you?”

– Stacy, a bisexual woman recalls an intervention by her school friends based on an assumption that she is in a ‘lesbian relationship’. Stacy also experienced isolation as a result. On the record: violence against LBT persons

The brutal assault and torture that led to the death of a 19 year old young person in Penang by schoolmates who used to bully him in school based his gender expression and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity is an alarm bell that rings loud and clear, and serious efforts must be taken to create a diverse and inclusive society and end bullying based on gender.

Just two weeks ago, the CEDAW committee in its Concluding Observations to Malaysia recalled General Recommendation No. 36 (2017) on the right of girls and women to education and recommended that Malaysia:

36. (e) Adopts anti-bullying policies based on alternative strategies to address bullying, such as counselling services and positive discipline, and undertake awareness-raising measures to foster equal rights for LBTI students.

Many good practices on actual inclusion of LGBTI and gender diverse persons in all levels of education are available. The From Insults to Inclusion report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) offers many tools, good practices and recommendations to create an inclusive environment in educational institutions. The report makes 6 recommendations:

  1. Analyse the situation
  2. Develop a policy framework that supports inclusion
  3. Mainstream diversity and inclusion in curricula and learning materials
  4. Support teachers to deliver inclusive education and effective responses to bullying, violence and discrimination
  5. Promote safe and inclusive school cultures and environments. This includes fostering a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect; identifying hotspots for bullying; links to counselling, health, or other support services are made available in ways that respect students’ right to privacy and confidentiality.
  6. Build a stronger evidence base on what works

We believe in the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy, and people should be free to express themselves and be who they are, without it affecting their access, opportunities and right to an education. We call on and strongly urge the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and SUHAKAM to assess the harm and impact of these programmes; promote diversity, inclusion and respect; and immediately end all anti-LGBT activities and rhetoric.

Ends/-

Endorsed by

Groups

  1. Justice for Sisters
  2. PELANGI — Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative
  3. Transmen of Malaysia
  4. Queer Academics, Students and Supporters Alliance (QUASSA)
  5. Sisters in Islam
  6. Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)
  7. Diversity
  8. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
  9. Celebrating Identities
  10. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita

Individuals

  1. Suri Kempe, feminist activist
  2. Manis Chen, trans woman, activist
  3. Vizla Kumaresan, Clinical Psychologist and feminist activist
  4. Teoh Han Hui, feminist and digital activist
  5. Timothy Philipp Gan, academic and social activist
  6. Dorian Wilde, feminist activist
  7. thilaga, feminist researcher and activist
  8. Dr Subatra Jayaraj, Sexual & Reproductive Health and feminist activist
  9. Mohani Niza,  editor
  10. Siti Kasim, human rights lawyer and activist
  11. Jac sm Kee, feminist activist
  12. Dr Joseph N. Goh, academic
  13. Jeremy Kwan, social activist

 

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Siasat Keganasan Terhadap Peserta Perarakan Hari Wanita dan Hentikan Segala Bentuk Keganasan Berunsur anti-LGBT, identiti gender dan ekspresi gender

Justice for Sisters mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya serangan dan gangguan yang dilakukan oleh beberapa individu terhadap beberapa sukarelawan Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) selepas Women’s March Malaysia atau Perarakan Wanita Malaysia pada 10 Mac 2018 kerana dianggap sebagai penyokong LGBT. Kejadian tersebut berlaku di hadapan Balai Polis Dang Wangi.

Serangan ini merupakan satu lagi petanda bahawa trend perilaku intimidasi, diskriminasi serta keganasan terhadap atau atas andaian orientasi seksual, identiti gender, penglibatan dengan LGBT, liberalisme dan hak asasi manusia di Malaysia kian menular. Insiden-insiden juga jelas menunjukkan impunity (kekebalan) atau perlindungan yang dinikmati individu dan kumpulan anti-LGBT selain sikap tidak peduli terhadap kesan tindakan keganasan mereka.

Hal ini jelas dalam video terbitan kumpulan itu sendiri yang mereka terbitkan di media sosial. Jelas kelihatan kumpulan tersebut berasa tindakan intimidasi serta serangan secara lisan dan fizikal berdasarkan andaian tentang penglibatan orang awam dengan golongan LGBT, liberalisme dan idea lain adalah tindakan wajar dan akan mendapat perlindungan pihak berkuasa.

Penting untuk ditekankan, kejadian tempoh hari berlatarbelakangkan suasana di mana berlaku peningkatan aktiviti, ungkapan, tindakan mengkambinghitam, menakut-nakutkan serta retorik anti- LGBT yang disokong oleh kerajaan. Selain itu, hak asasi manusia, feminisme, dan semua yang dianggap sebagai ‘liberal dan pluralistik’ juga ditentang hebat. Kejadian baru-baru ini menunjukkan kumpulan pelaku menyahut pandangan kerajaan berkenaan liberalisme, pluralisme serta LGBT, dan bertindak menggunakan keganasan lantas mengancam keselamatan awam.

Hakikat bahawa kumpulan pelaku tersebut berani menyerang orang awam di hadapan sebuah balai polis sambil merakam serangan mereka dan kemudian menerbit video tersebut di media sosial satu petanda serius impunity, kebebasan dan keyakinan yang dirasai golongan ini dalam tindakan anti-LGBT, homofobia, transfobia, diskriminasi, intimidasi dan keganasan di Malaysia.

Sememangnya, terdapat peningkatan kumpulan anti-LGBT di Malaysia. Pada tahun 2012 dan 2013, sekumpulan samseng di Pahang, menyerang lebih 13 wanita transgender atau mak nyah dengan rantai besi, topi keledar dan batang besi dalam sebuah siri jenayah kebencian yang mengakibatkan kecederaan serius kepada wanita-wanita transgender berkenaan. Berdasarkan laporan media dan laporan Human Rights Watch “I am scared to be a woman,”seorang wanita telah ‘dipukul sehingga koma’ dan ada yang menerima 18 hingga 78 jahitan akibat serangan tersebut. Pada tahun 2018, Skuad Badar Sungai Petani muncul di platform media sosial, mengeluarkan ancaman untuk menangkap mak nyah dan mencukur kepala mereka. Kami juga mendapat maklumat bahawa kumpulan ini telah menggangu, menangkap dan menyerang wanita transgender di komuniti tersebut. Tambah lagi, wanita transgender yang ditangkap dicukurkan kepala mereka.

Kesemua ini adalah bentuk intimidasi dan ugutan serius yang mewujudkan rasa ketakutan dan kebimbangan terutamanya dalam kalangan golongan terpinggir.

Di samping itu, Justice for Sisters dan organisasi lain di Malaysia juga telah mendokumentasi sekurang-kurangnya 12 kes pecah masuk dan kemusnahan harta benda oleh pengganas dan pelaku yang tidak dikenalpasti di kawasan kediaman mangsa; serangan fizikal, penghinaan dan ugutan penyeksaan oleh kumpulan ‘vigilante’ yang seringkali menggunakan nama ‘Pengawal Keamanan’ atau kumpulan “Pengawal Rukun Tetangga” pada tahun 2017 dan 2018.

Pada tahun 2017 dan 2018 berlaku pelbagai gangguan terhadap sekutu LGBTIQ dan pembela hak asasi manusia yang menyokong golongan LGBT secara terbuka. Hal ini termasuklah aduan kepada agensi kerajaan atas tindakan like paparan pro-LGBT di laman media sosial, dituduh dan didakwa menghalang tugas pihak berkuasa semasa serbuan dijalankan; diejek dengan panggilan hinaan; ancaman fizikal dan seksual, dan lain-lain.

Kami menggesa orang ramai menolak keganasan terhadap peserta Women’s March Malaysia dan terus belajar dan mendidik antara satu sama lain mengenai gender, seksualiti dan kepelbagaian dalam masyarakat majmuk Malaysia. Dalam mendukung semangat Perarakan Wanita di Malaysia tempoh hari, kita mesti terus memperkasa dan menerima golongan terpinggir dalam masyarakat sebagai lambang kepelbagaian dan perpaduan.

Kami menggesa pihak polis, Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM) dan Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (SUHAKAM) untuk menyiasat serangan ini dengan segera supaya keganasan seperti ini tidak dinormalisasikan di Malaysia. Ia adalah pencabulan hak asasi manusia yang serius, termasuk hak untuk hidup, hak kebebasan dan hak keamanan. Trend peningkatan keganasan ini mesti ditangani dengan rundingan dan kerjasama daripada kumpulan hak asasi manusia LGBT.

Kami juga menggesa UMNO untuk menyiasat perkara ini memandangkan hubungan kumpulan pelaku dengan parti politik tersebut. Menjelang pilihan raya akan datang, kami menggesa parti politik henti mempergunakan isu dan golongan LGBT untuk memenangi undi. Golongan LGBT juga adalah pengundi, dan kami menggesa parti-parti politik untuk menumpukan perhatian terhadap diskriminasi, keganasan, peminggiran yang dihadapi oleh rakyat, dan mencadangkan penyelesaian yang bermakna untuk menangani isu-isu mereka.

Kami menggesa agar kerajaan dengan segera menghentikan semua bentuk kegiatan anti-LGBT, termasuklah retorik dan ucapan, kerana kita sudah menyaksikan kesan negatif dan memudaratkan kepada bukan sahaja terhadap individu LGBT malah semua yang disyaki orientasi seksual, identiti gender, eskpresi gender, ciri-ciri seks dan penglibatan mereka dengan individu atau isu LGBTIQ.

Aktiviti anti-LGBT yang disokong atau dibiayai oleh kerajaan harus dihentikan serta merta atas implikasi negatif dan kemudaratan yang teruk. Hal ini juga melanggar hak perlembagaan kami untuk hidup bebas daripada keganasan dan bermaruah.

HARI WANITA SEDUNIA 2018 #WanitaBangkit#WomensMarchMY (4)

Investigate attacks against Women’s March Malaysia participants & end all forms of anti-LGBT and gender based violence

Justice for Sisters strongly condemns the attacks and harassment of a few Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) volunteers by a few individuals for allegedly being LGBT supporters after the Women’s March on 10th March 2018. The incident took place in front of the Dang Wangi police station.

The attack is another indication of an alarming and escalating trend of intimidation, discrimination and violence based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, association with LGBT, liberalism, human rights, among others in Malaysia recently. They also clearly demonstrate the high level of impunity enjoyed by anti-LGBT groups and persons, and serious lack of sense of repercussion stemming from their acts of violence.

The attackers felt entirely protected and justified to verbally and physically intimidate and attack random persons in a public space based on a presumed association with LGBT persons, liberalism and other ideas. A self-produced video of the incident uploaded by the attackers provides very clear evidence of this belief and impunity.

Importantly, this is also happening against the backdrop of increasing state sponsored anti-LGBT activities, speech, scapegoating, fear-mongering and rhetoric as well as an increasing climate of repression towards human rights, feminism, and all things that are deemed ‘liberal and pluralistic’. This indicates that the attackers are reproducing and echoing the government’s position on liberalism, pluralism and LGBT, and are doing so in ways that are violent and threatening to the safety of everyday members of the public.

The fact that the attackers felt no fear of repercussion from carrying out the attacks in front of a police station and for sharing video documentation evidencing their attack on social media is a serious sign of the impunity that the people who carry out homophobic, transphobic and anti-LGBT discrimination, intimidation, and violence enjoy in Malaysia.

There is a rise of anti-LGBT vigilante groups in Malaysia. In 2012 and 2013, a group of gangsters in Pahang, physically assaulted over 13 trans women with steel chains, helmets and steel bars in a spate of attacks, resulting in serious injuries. Based on media reports and I am Scared to be a Woman, a report by Human Rights Watch, one woman being ‘beaten into a coma’ and some received 18 to 78 stitches as a result of the assault. In 2018, Skuad Badar Sungai Petani emerged on social media platforms, urging religious authorities to take action on trans women. We have also received information that this group has harassed, arrested and attacked the trans women in the community, including shaving the heads of trans women in their custody. These are serious forms of intimidation and torture, and create a sense of fear and terror especially in marginalized populations.

In addition, Justice for Sisters and other groups and individuals have also documented at least 12 cases of break ins and property destruction by persons in residential areas, strangers or unknown perpetrators; physical attacks, humiliation and torture by vigilante groups disguised as community policing or residential groups in 2017 and 2018.

In 2017 and 2018 also saw a range of harassment and violence towards LGBTIQ allies and human rights defenders for expressing support and solidarity publicly, from having complaints being to lodged to state agencies over social media posts, being prosecuted for providing legal support, being subjected to name calling, threats of physical and sexual violence among others

We call on members of the public to denounce the violence towards the Women’s March Malaysia participants, and continue to learn and educate each other on gender, sexuality, intersectionality and diversity among others. In the spirit of the Women’s March Malaysia, we must continue to make visible our diversity and solidarity, and empower and affirm the diverse communities that are marginalized and invisible.

We urge the police, the Multimedia Communications Commission (MCMC) and SUHAKAM to investigate this matter immediately, as these forms of violence cannot be normalized. These are serious forms of human rights violations, including the right to life, liberty and security.

We also call the UMNO to investigate this matter given the attackers’ alleged links to the political party. With the looming elections, we urge political parties stop scapegoating LGBT persons to win votes. LGBT persons are also voters, and we urge the political parties to focus on the discrimination, violence, marginalization faced by people, and propose actual solutions to address these issues, in consultation with LGBT human rights groups.

We urge for the government to immediately end all forms of anti-LGBT activities, rhetoric, speech, as we are already witnessing the harmful impact towards people, not limited to LGBT persons, based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, or association with LGBTIQ persons. The state sponsored anti-LGBT measures are inherently harmful and violates our constitutional right to live free from violence, and with dignity.

Endorsed by

Groups

  1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  2. Biawak Gemok
  3. Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  4. EMPOWER
  5. Knowledge and Rights for Young People through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
  6. Pelangi Campaign
  7. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  8. PLUHO, People Like Us, Hang Out!
  9. QUASSA
  10. SEED Malaysia
  11. Seksualiti Merdeka
  12. Shhdiam, queer band
  13. Sisters in Islam
  14. SUARAM Malaysia
  15. Tenaganita
  16. Transmen of Malaysia (TOM)

Individuals

  1. Azwan Ismail, feminist activist
  2. Chong Yee Shan, academic
  3. Ezrena Marwan, graphic designer
  4. Ineza Roussille, feminist activist
  5. Jac SM Kee, feminist activist
  6. lean, feminist activist
  7. Pang Khee Teik, SM co-founder
  8. Dr Subatra Jayaraj, feminist activist
  9. Suguna, secretary PSWS
  10. Suri Kempe, feminist activist
  11. thilaga, feminist activist
  12. Timothy Philipp Gan, academic
  13. Vizla Kumaresan, feminist activist & clinical psychologist

HARI WANITA SEDUNIA 2018 #WanitaBangkit#WomensMarchMY (4)

Public funds must not be used to create harmful educational environments

Justice for Sisters is concerned by the announcement of a new research academy in USIM to study the ‘LGBT issue’ as reported by Free Malaysia Today on 2 February 2018. Even more concerning is the fact that the academy is being co-funded by the university and the Ministry of Higher Education.

The Ministry of Higher Education must assess the multiple adverse impacts of funding such academies, especially in terms of safety and well-being of students and staff in educational institutions. The research academy is also founded on harmful misconceptions and bias towards LGBTIQ persons, and a lack of structural and systemic analysis of the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTIQ persons.

We are concerned that the Ministry of Higher Education is essentially funding an anti-LGBT project that will increase harm towards students and staff at USIM by compounding the increasing intolerance towards LGBT persons and the deterioration of human rights. We are very concerned about the environment that this research academy will create for students and staff. Educational institutions must be a safe space for students to expand their minds and express themselves.

Efforts by the Government to fund such anti-LGBT initiatives are taking place within a broader context of institutional homophobia and transphobia. The Pelan Tindakan Menangani Gejala Sosial Perlakuan LGBT 2017-2021, or the Action Plan to Address Social Ills (LGBT Behaviour) 2017-2021 in collaboration with 22 strategic partners[1], includes government agencies such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, and Ministry of Youth and Sports. According to media reports, since the launch of the Action Plan, in collaboration with Islamic NGOs, JAKIM has launched a ‘self-help’ ebook on changing one’s sexual orientation and gender identity, and developed treatment and rehabilitation (Ilaj Wa Syifa) modules for lesbian and gay persons, amongst others.

Research and documentation has already shown that educational institutions are a site of violence for many LGBT and gender diverse or gender non-conforming students. The I am Scared to Be a Woman and On the Record: Violence against LBT Persons reports document multiple forms of discrimination, micro aggression and violence experienced by LBTQ persons in educational institutions, including bullying; name calling; isolation by peers; physical, emotional and sexual violence by peers, educators and staff; restrictions on participation in extracurricular activities of their choice; subjected to disciplinary actions due to gender expression (e.g. length of hair); inability to continue learning in educational institutions due to non-inclusive and gender normative policies and lack of access to facilities; increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression; amongst others – all of which can result in drop outs.

Educational institutions have also become increasingly unsafe for students, evidenced by the school guidelines that penalize LGBT persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity; anti-LGBT campaigns, rallies and talks in educational institutions; and boot camps for gender diverse or gender non-conforming students, intended to ‘increase their masculinity’.

In 2017 a young person in Penang died after being brutally attacked by former schoolmates who bullied the young person in school due to gender expression and perceived sexual orientation. This case shows the escalation of microaggression and bullying into brutal and deadly violence. In this case, the 19-year-old victim was subjected to ongoing  name calling, taunting and bullying in school, for not conforming to masculine ideas of a ‘man’. The teachers and parents could not intervene or find a resolution to the matter. In the end, it was entirely the burden of the young person to seek solutions to a systemic problem. This case also reminds us that bullying and violence faced by students is not limited to the school compound and duration of education, although it may begin in schools. This case is a reminder of the urgency of gender education to address gender-based violence and systemic problems in a society that perpetuate violence against LGBTIQ people.

Given this context and reality, the Ministry of Higher Education must use its budgetary allocation wisely and effectively, especially in a time of increasing budget cuts to meaningfully address the multiple serious issues in educational institutions in relation to students’ well-being and safety, rather than perpetuate and exacerbate the existing discrimination and violence towards LGBTIQ persons by providing financial resources to further it.

Justice for Sisters calls on the Ministry of Higher Education to stop funding blatantly harmful programmes that fuel the creation of toxic educational environments.

This statement is by Justice for Sisters, and endorsed by

  1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  2. Association of Women’s Lawyers (AWL)
  3. Diversity Malaysia
  4. PELANGI – Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiatives
  5. Perak Women for Women (PWW)
  6. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  7. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
  8. PLUHO, People Like Us, Hang Out!
  9. SAWO (Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group)
  10. SEED Malaysia
  11. Seksualiti Merdeka
  12. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  13. QUASSA
  14. Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)
  15. Women Centre for Change (WCC)

[1] Listed partners include, Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Malaysia; Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat; Lembaga Penduduk dan Pembangunan Keluarga Negara (LPPKN); Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia; Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia; Kementerian Belia dan Sukan Malaysia; Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia; Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia; Jabatan Agama Islam Seluruh Malaysia

 

 

Media release: Gender education, not gender test, will end discrimination against Sajat

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned over the speculation and scrutiny of Nur Sajat’s gender identity and the escalation of events concerning this matter. We echo Nur Sajat’s assertion that her gender identity is not, and should not, be a matter of national interest.

As stipulated by the Article 5 of the Federal Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all persons are born equal and free and are entitled to live their lives with dignity. The continued harassment of the celebrity and entrepreneur on social media by members of the public, and persecution by Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), is a blatant violation of Nur Sajat’s rights.

JAKIM had reportedly visited Sajat on 20th January 2018 with her parents present. While the meeting was described as “positive,” JAKIM then announced its plan to conduct a test to determine Sajat’s gender identity.

We are concerned that this move by JAKIM will further victimize and bring humiliation to Nur Sajat. Her well being and dignity should always remain the utmost priority, as she has been the recipient of hateful comments, investigation and disclosure of personal information since 2016, all due to her gender identity.

We firmly believe that no one should be subjected to gender or medical tests to prove their gender identity. This process is inherently intrusive, degrading, dehumanizing, and most importantly, unnecessary.

We emphasize that gender identity is not determined by our genitals. In addition, both sex and gender identity is a spectrum, consisting of many identities that are not limited to male, female, women, men. People who are intersex, transgender, gender queer are equally normal identities that exist similar to cisgender persons, or people whose identities assigned at birth ‘match’ their lived experiences or how they feel and identify. We reiterate that neither sex nor gender identity are a binary.

We therefore condemn any initiatives or attempts to incite such initiatives of verifying anyone’s gender identity. If JAKIM insists on pursuing this course of action, we demand that JAKIM make public what is entailed as their gender test, and all related processes.

It is important to note that many countries have moved away from a medicalized approach on sex and gender due to its intrusive nature. In fact, medical examinations are not necessary and its prohibited to request for medical assessment in many countries, including Malta that has mechanisms for trans and intersex people to change their details assigned at birth.

Instead of focusing on Nur Sajat’s gender identity, we call the government to take meaningful measures to increase understanding and educate government agencies and members of the public regarding gender identity and gender based bullying and violence. Nur Sajat has consistently experienced gender based online bullying as result of the speculation and scrutiny of her gender identity. [1][2] Since 2016, Sajat has experienced disclosure of personal information, including her identification card [3] and alleged childhood photos[4]; pressured by online users to ‘change’ or ‘return to the right path’,[5] forcing her to disclose personal details about herself publicly; hateful comments; name calling; calls for investigations and more. We believe such harassment is serious, harmful, and should not be normalized. We emphasize that the state has an obligation to protect all persons from discrimination and violence, including transgender, intersex and gender queer persons.

Endorsed by:

  1. Justice for Sisters
  2. Trans men of Malaysia
  3. SEED Malaysia
  4. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor
  5. Sisters in Islam
  6. Women’s Aid Organisation
  7. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  8. Association of Women Lawyers
  9. PELANGI – Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative
  10. Komuniti Muslim Universal
  11. PLUHO, People Like Us, Hang Out!
  12. SUARAM Malaysia
  13. Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH)
  14. The Malaysian Feminist
  15. Seksualiti Merdeka
  16. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
  17. PLUsos

[1] ‘Ada pihak tak senang pencapaian saya’ –  Nur Sajat

https://www.bharian.com.my/hiburan/selebriti/2017/07/305745/ada-pihak-tak-senang-pencapaian-saya-%C2%A0-nur-sajat

[2] Dianggap Mak Nyah, Akhirnya Nur Sajat Dedah Beliau Sebenarnya Dilahirkan Khunsa

http://says.com/my/seismik/luahan-nur-sajat-usahawan-khunsa

[3] Gambar Kad Pengenalan Nur Sajat Tersebar Membuktikan Bahawa Dirinya Sebenarnya Adalah Lelaki?

https://www.koleksiviral.com/2017/07/gambar-kad-pengenalan-nur-sajat.html

[4] 3 Gambar Bukti Nur Sajat Adalah Seorang Lelaki?

https://iluminasi.com/bm/dua-gambar-bukti-nur-sajat-adalah-seorang-lelaki.html

[5] Mak nyah, Nur Sajat dedah beliau sebenarnya dilahirkan khunsa

http://www.astroawani.com/berita-malaysia/mak-nyah-nur-sajat-dedah-beliau-sebenarnya-dilahirkan-khunsa-103474

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017

Remembering the violence, hate crime and murder of trans people and gender diverse persons based on gender identity and gender expression

On 20th November, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) we remember all the trans people and gender diverse people who have been subjected to murder and violence based on gender identity and gender expression. On TDOR, we remember and honour their lives, and we continue to seek justice and end violence against trans and gender diverse people based on gender identity and gender expression.

According to updates by the Transgender Europe (TGEU), 325 cases of murder of trans and gender diverse persons were reported between October 2016 and September 2017. This year’s update shows an increase of 30 cases from last year.

In total between January 2008 and September 2017, a total of 2,609 trans and gender diverse people were reported killed in 71 countries. Out of the total reported cases, 231 reported cases come from Asia.

In Malaysia, 3 cases of murder of trans women were reported in 2017. Two out of the three cases were reported in the media, and the trans women were subjected to misgendering or the use of wrong gender pronouns, terms or labels, description and name in the media. In addition, the outcomes of the investigation of these cases have yet to be seen.

February 2017 – Sameera Krishnan was brutally attacked, shot, tortured, mutilated and found dead in Pahang. Her case was reportedly investigated by the police. However, outcomes of the case are unknown.

May 2017 – An unnamed trans woman was found dead in her bedroom with both wrists bound with wirehair dryers and cable mobile phone charger in Kuala Lumpur. The body was found approximately 4 days after death due to the smell from decay.

August 2017 – A 22-year-old trans woman was reportedly murdered in Kuala Lumpur. This case did not appear in the media.

We also remember and highlight the case of a Thai trans woman in Penang in May 2017. The woman who is also a sex worker, sustained severe injuries and was almost killed due to multiple stabbing with a knife by a client over allegedly expensive rates.

Between 2007 and 2016, at least 10 cases of murder have been reported in the media. In these 10 cases, the trans women were subjected to brutal violence, including being beaten to death with a hammer, strangled, gagged, stabbed multiple times, physically assaulted, pushed from a building, drowned in a water retention pond, etc.

Its important to note that these are reported cases of murder, hate crime and violence. There are many cases of hate crime, murder and violence that go unreported (due to fear of reprisal or further violence, lack of trust in law enforcement agencies to investigate cases, lack of serious and meaningful investigation of cases, lack of friendly and inclusive reporting mechanism, among others), unnoticed (due to misgendering in the media among others) and silenced (due to shame by family members, fear of media sensationalization, among others).

The violence experienced by trans and gender diverse people do not happen in a vacuum, and it correlates with the broader discriminatory laws, policies, misinformation regarding gender identity and trans people, lack of positive and affirming representation in the media among many other factors. Criminalization of trans people increases barriers for trans people to access justice and continues to marginalize trans people. In addition, the lack of inclusive, sensitive and friendly redress mechanisms further limit access to justice for trans and gender diverse persons.

We believe that the marginalization and violence against trans and gender diverse persons must end, and we can end it together. We call everyone to light a candle for all trans and gender diverse people have been subjected to murder and hate crime this 20th November.

Resources:

For more information regarding TDOR, please visit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWnWV6VCNm4

http://tdor.tgeu.org/

http://transrespect.org/en/tmm-update-trans-day-remembrance-2017/

Name list of trans and gender diverse people who have been subjected to murder

http://transrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/TvT_TMM_TDoR2017_Namelist_EN.pdf

Media kit for journalist

https://www.glaad.org/publications/tdorkit

For updates in Malaysia, please visit justiceforsisters.wordpress.com

Downloadables

https://justiceforsisters.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/200/

Reported murder of trans people in Malaysia

In conjunction with trans awareness month and TDOR this November 2017 Justice for Sisters in collaboration with the G-Blog bring you articles and stories by trans people

Keadilan untuk Sameera – Pastikan siasatan yang teliti dan mereka di sebalik pembunuhan Sameera dibawa ke muka pengadilan

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Kami seperti yang tertera di bawah amat sedih berikutan pembunuhan kejam Sameera Krishnan, seorang wanita transgender atau mak nyah muda pada 23 Februari 2017 sekitar jam 3.30 pagi di Kuantan, Malaysia. Sameera bukan sahaja diserang dengan pisau dan ditetak pada bahagian tangan, kaki, kepala, serta kaki, dia juga ditembak sebanyak tiga kali. Sameera bekerja sebagai seorang penjual bunga di Kuantan dan dikenali oleh keluarga serta rakan-rakannya sebagai seorang yang lemah lembut dan rendah hati. Pengebumian Sameera telah disempurnakan pada Jumaat, 24 Februari, yang juga merupakan tarikh lahirnya.

Kami mengalu-alukan siasatan pembunuhan tersebut oleh pihak polis yang dilakukan secara segera, dan berharap pihak polis akan menerbit hasil siasatan ini kepada orang awam. Kami berharap keadilan dapat dilaksanakan untuk Sameera. Pembunuhan yang tidak berperikemanusiaan ini telah dikenalpasti berhubung dengan sebuah kes yang masih berterusan melibatkan Sameera di mana pada Februari 2015, Sameera telah diculik dan dirogol oleh beberapa orang samseng. Sameera telah ditetapkan untuk muncul di mahkamah pada bulan hadapan sebagai saksi utama kes ini.

Sementara kita menunggu siasatan dan motif pembunuhan tersebut dikenalpasti pihak polis, adalah penting untuk mengakui bahawa wanita trans menghadapi jenayah kebencian dan keganasan yang melampau dan luar biasa berdasarkan identiti gender mereka. Antara sebab berlakunya keganasan sebegini termasuklah kekurangan perlindungan undang-undang, penganiayaan, persepsi negatif masyarakat terhadap individu trans, diskriminasi, dan sebagainya.

Antara 2007 dan 2016, sekurang-kurangnya 10 kes pembunuhan telah dilaporkan oleh pihak media. Dalam 10 kes-kes ini, wanita-wanita trans telah menghadapi keganasan yang melampau termasuklah dipukul dengan tukul sehingga mati, dicekik, ditikam berkali-kali, diserang secara fizikal, ditolak keluar bangunan, dilemaskan dalam kolam takungan air dan sebagainya. Walau bagaimanapun, kebanyakan kes jenayah kebencian dan keganasan terhadap golongan trans tidak dilaporkan dan tidak didokumentasikan.

Laporan media dan misgendering

Misgendering, iaitu penggunaan nama atau kata ganti nama atau rujukan lain yang tidak mencerminkan identiti gender seseorang, terhadap Sameera telah menerima kritikan meluas masyarakat dan aktivis trans termasuklah kumpulan seperti Persatuan Tamil Thirunangai Malaysia. Pihak media telah menunjukkan ketidakpekaan dan sikap tidak hormat terhadap Sameera dan individu trans lain, tidak memedulikan langsung trauma dan kehilangan yang dihadapi oleh ahli-ahli keluarga serta individu-individu tersayang Sameera.

Beberapa laporan media tentang pembunuhan Sameera terutamanya sekali artikel-artikel berbahasa Melayu merujuk kepada Sameera dengan terma-terma negatif yang mengaibkan dan tidak menyenangkan seperti ‘pondan’, ‘lelaki berperwatakan perempuan’, ‘lelaki transeksual’ dalam tajuk dan kandungan artikelnya.

Walaupun beberapa media seperti Harian Metro telah menukar perkataan ‘pondan” (terma yang mempunyai konotasi negatif terhadap wanita trans dan lelaki gay cisgender, terutamanya yang disifatkan sebagai ‘lembut’) dalam tajuk artikel mereka kepada “Mak Nyah” (terma yang sesuai untuk merujuk kepada wanita trans), terma tersebut tidak digunakan secara konsisten, menyeluruh dan memuaskan. Sebagai contoh, artikel Harian Metro tersebut yang bertajuk ‘Mak Nyah maut ditembak, ditetak’ masih mengandungi konsep salah ‘lelaki berperwatakan perempuan’ dalam kandungan artikelnya. Wanita trans bukan ‘lelaki yang berperwatakan perempuan’. Hal ini menunjukkan kurang pemahaman tentang identiti gender dan kepelbagaian gender. Tambahan pula, Mutiara FM, sebuah stesen radio tempatan, dalam rancangan paginya merujuk kepada Sameera sebagai seorang lelaki trans sambil menggelakkan identiti gendernya.

Misgendering yang konsisten dan sengaja merupakan satu bentuk keganasan kerana hal ini mejatuhkan martabat serta maruah diri individu transgender. Selain itu, misgendering juga mempunyai kesan jangka panjang yang mendalam terhadap keyakinan diri individu-individu transgender. Kami menggesa orang ramai untuk menggunakan istilah yang tepat dan tidak mempunyai konotasi negatif seperti mak nyah, trans woman, perempuan atau wanita transgender, dan transgender women. (Sila lihat analisa media dan panduan media terbitan Justice for Sisters)

Keganasan yang dialami oleh individu-individu trans tidak berlaku secara tiba-tiba dan merupakan simptom atau kesan daripada peminggiran dan halangan-halangan yang dihadapi mereka. Adalah penting untuk kita menghapuskan semua bentuk stigma dan diskriminasi yang dihadapi oleh individu-individu trans yang terus meletakkan mereka dalam situasi-situasi yang berisiko tinggi.

Semua orang, tanpa mengira identiti jantina perlu dilindungi daripada keganasan. Kami menggesa pihak berkuasa dan media untuk melayan individu trans dengan hormat dan bermaruah. Kami juga menggesa pihak polis segera membawa para penjenayah di sebalik pembunuhan Sameera ke muka pengadilan.

Disokong oleh: (menurut abjad)

  1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  2. Association of Women Lawyers Malaysia (AWL)
  3. Community Development Centre (CDC)
  4. HAKAM, National Human Rights Society
  5. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
  6. Justice for Sisters (JFS)
  7. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
  8. Tirunangai Uthavi Karagal
  9. The G-Blog
  10. Transmen of Malaysia (TOM)
  11. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
  12. PELANGI — Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative
  13. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
  14. Persatuan Tamil Thirunangai Malaysia
  15. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  16. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia
  17. Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sinar Pelangi (PKSP)
  18. PT Foundation
  19. Seksualiti Merdeka
  20. SEED Malaysia
  21. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  22. Suaram Malaysia
  23. Voice of Community (VOC)
  24. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  25. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
Terminologi

Jantina atau seks yang diberikan ketika lahir –   Identiti yang diberikan mengikut alat kelamin, selalunya perempuan, lelaki, dll. Walau bagaimanapun, jantina atau seks merujuk kepada kombinasi kromosom, organ seksual dan reproduktif luaran dan dalaman, ciri-ciri seks sekunder serta komposisi hormon.

Identiti gender – Identifikasi peribadi (contohnya: perempuan, lelaki, gender fluid atau queer, dsb) berdasarkan cara kita melihat dan mengenali diri sendiri. Selalunya, identiti gender diberikan ketika lahir adalah tekaan berdasarkan alat kelamin luaran. Akan tetapi, identiti gender dan seks adalah dua perkara berbeza, dan tidak perlu sepadan, konsisten atau selari.

Cisgender – identiti gender dan jantina/seks yang diberikan ketika lahir ‘sepadan’

Transgender – identiti gender dan jantina/seks yang diberikan ketika lahir ‘tidak sepadan’

Trans -singkatan bagi transgender

Trans woman, mak nyah, wanita atau perempuan transgender – identiti gender individu transgender itu perempuan, atau mengenali dirinya sebagai seorang perempuan

Trans man, lelaki transgender – identiti gender individu transgender itu lelaki, atau mengenali dirinya sebagai seorang lelaki

Gender queer – seorang yang tidak mengenal pasti dirinya dengan mana-mana gender, semua gender, kombinasi gender, dan sebagainya

Untuk maklumat lanjut sila lihat gender bear

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