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)

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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Justice for Sisters calls for dialogues to dispel myths & end violence against transgender persons

Justice for Sisters is concerned by the unnecessary panic over the recent formation of the transgender committee in Pulau Pinang. The response completely overlooks the reality of violence, discrimination and marginalization faced by transgender persons in Malaysia. Justice for Sisters wholeheartedly welcomes the committee as a positive move in understanding violence and marginalization faced by transgender persons.

Based on media reports and our documentation, at least 63 trans women had been arrested in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Kedah and Pahang by police and the state religious departments for simply being themselves, between January and May 2016 alone.

Number of transgender women arrested by the authorities, namely police and state religious departments according to states in Malaysia between January and May 2016

State/Month January February March April May Total
Penang 13 3 16
Kuala Lumpur 4 6 5 11 9 35
Malacca 4 4
Kedah 1 1
Pahang 7 7
Total 4 6 18 12 23 63

 

In addition, there are also reported cases of transgender women arbitrarily stopped by the authorities and blackmailed for bribes. I am scared to be a woman, a report by the Human Rights Watch on violence faced by transgender persons in Malaysia further provides cases of arbitrary arrests on the basis on their gender identity, as well as physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violence experienced by trans women during arrests and detention. The report also documents violence faced by transgender persons in accessing basic rights, including education, employment, and healthcare among others.

Overwhelming evidences affirm that gender identity is an innate part of our being. Sex[1] and gender are two separate categories that all human beings have, and gender is not determined by genitalia. Gender is a spectrum signifying personal sense of belonging and identification (as a girl/woman, boy/man, both, neither, other gender identities).

In 2015, research led by brain researcher Georg S. Kanz of the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Medical University of Vienna demonstrated that the very personal gender identity of every human being is reflected and verifiable in the cross-links between brain regions. The report stated, “While the biological gender is usually manifested in the physical appearance, the individual gender identity is not immediately discernible and primarily established in the psyche of a human being.”

This research along many with psychological, anthropological and other evidences further affirm that transgender persons have existed throughout humanity, and they do not impersonate, pretend or cross dress. Transgender people merely express their identities, like cisgender[2] persons.

Moreover, contrary to popular beliefs, most major religions and faith, including Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism acknowledge the reality of gender diversity in humanity. Religious leaders, including Lord Rama, Prophet Muhammad, and Gautama Buddha have shown acceptance and recognized transgender persons in their lifetime.

BuddhismTwo of Gautama Buddha’s followers were transgender – trans woman and trans man. Gautama Buddha recognized their authentic gender identity, and ensured they were treated as their authentic gender identity.

Islam – Islam recognizes diversity in sex and gender. Islam recognizes that sex spectrum and is not merely determined by genitals, evidenced by the recognition of khunsa wahdid and khunsa musykil. Mukhannathun, term used for transgender women, existed Mecca and Medina, and worked as matchmakers among others. There are also references that show mukhannathun were permitted in cisgender women spaces, and cisgender women did not have to cover their modesty around mukhannathun.

Hinduism – Hinduism is rich with narratives that acknowledge diverse gender identities. In the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama, who is banished from kingdom, is followed by a group of people into the forest. He asks all the men and women to leave, and they do. However, those who do not identify with both categories did not move. Lord Rama was impressed by their devotion, and blessed them. In Mahabaratha, Arjuna transitions, and changes her name to Brihannala. Brihannala lives in a harem where she teaches women art, dance and music. Some transgender women also believe that they are descendants of Mother Goddess Bahuchara Mata.

Social justice and liberation from misery and oppression, including slavery, patriarchal systems, poverty, have been central themes of religion. Overwhelming evidence show that transgender persons being subjected to arrested simply for being who they are; experience bullying and violence in school; lack employment opportunities; mistreated in healthcare settings and more. Transgender persons as a population is misunderstood, marginalized, and face multiple forms of violence and discrimination because of their gender identity.

We now live in a time with increased visibility, understanding and research regarding gender identity and transgender persons. We call for dialogues to dispel harmful myths and assumptions about transgender persons, and to understand the marginalization faced by trans people in Malaysia. Together we must end marginalization and violence towards transgender persons, and liberate each other from oppression.

[1] Sex refers to a combination of our chromosomes, external and internal sexual reproductive organs, hormones, and secondary sexual characteristics. The common misconception is that sex only consists of female (XY) or male (XX) chromosomes. However, there are also people with diverse types of chromosomes (XXX, XO, XXY, etc.), hormones, and physical characteristics outside of the male/female binary, who are known as intersex.

[2] A person whose lived experience match the gender assigned at birth based on genitals is known as a cisgender person.

Memahami seks dan gender: perbezaan, andaian dan keganasan.

Memahami seks dan gender adalah penting dalam menghentikan keganasan serta peminggiran individu transgender.

Bukti-bukti kukuh mengesahkan bahawa identiti gender adalah semula jadi kepada semua orang, dan seks/jantina serta gender adalah dua kategori berasingan yang dipunyai oleh semua manusia. Seks mahupun gender bukanlah binari, bermakna tidak terdiri daripada hanya dua identiti.

Seks – gabungan kromosom, organ-organ reproduktif seksual luaran dan dalaman, hormon, serta ciri-ciri seks sekunder – adalah sebuah spektrum, dan ianya tidak menentukan identiti gender kita. Anggapan umum adalah bahawa seks hanya terdiri daripada lelaki iaitu kromosom (XX) atau perempuan (XY). Walau bagaimanapun, terdapat juga individu yang mempunyai pelbagai jenis kromosom (XXX, XO, XXY, dan lain-lain), hormon, dan ciri-ciri fizikal di luar binari lelaki /perempuan, yang dikenali sebagai interseks atau khunsa. Individu dengan ciri-ciri interseks menghadapi cabaran yang unik akibat tekanan untuk menepati lelaki/perempuan binari, termasuk pembedahan alat kelamin tanpa persetujuan mereka, isu-isu imej badan, dan sekatan untuk bersaing dalam acara sukan.

Identiti jantina pula merujuk kepada perasaan peribadi kita dan cara kita rasa, lihat, dan mengenalpasti diri kita, sama ada sebagai lelaki atau perempuan, kedua-duanya, tidak kedua-duanya atau kombinasi mana-mana kategori.

Pada tahun 2015, penyelidikan yang diketuai oleh penyelidik otak Georg S. Kanz, Klinik Universiti bagi Psikiatri dan Psikoterapi Universiti Perubatan Vienna menunjukkan bahawa identiti jantina adalah sangat peribadi bagi setiap manusia, digambarkan dan boleh disahkan dalam pautan silang di kawasan otak. Laporan itu menyatakan, “Walaupun jantina biologi biasanya dimanifestasikan dalam penampilan fizikal, identiti jantina individu tidak segera dapat dicerap dan penubuhan yang utama dalam jiwa seorang manusia.”

Apabila kanak-kanak dilahirkan, mereka diberikan gender berdasarkan alat kelamin mereka. Sebagai contoh, seorang kanak-kanak yang mempunyai faraj ketika lahir diberikan jantina/gender sebagai perempuan, dan kemudiannya dijangka untuk melaksanakan peranan gender khusus untuk identiti tersebut seperti memasak, mengemas, dan akur, dan sebagainya. Manakala mereka yang ditentukan sebagai anak lelaki ketika lahir dijangka menjadi kuat, agresif, bersifat sebagai pelindung bagi yang lain dan sebagainya. Walau bagaimanapun, penentuan dan andaian sebegini tidak selalunya tepat, kerana alat kelamin tidak menentukan gender seseorang. Seks dan gender adalah dua kategori yang berbeza,dan juga ditentukan oleh komponen yang berbeza dalam badan kita.

Orang yang mempunyai pengalaman hidupnya yang sepadan dengan seks dan gender yang diberikan semasa lahir, mereka dikenali sebagai cisgender, manakala orang yang mempunyai  pengalaman hidup tidak sepadan dengan seks dan gender mereka ketika lahir dikenali sebagai transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid dan lain-lain.

Satu kajian yang dijalankan pada bulan Januari 2015 dengan 32 kanak-kanak transgender berumur antara lima hingga dua belas, yang diketuai oleh ahli sains psikologi Kristina Olson dari Universiti Washington, mendapati bahawa “identiti gender kanak-kanak ini amat tepat dan keputusan yang dihasilkan bukan daripada kekeliruan tentang identiti gender atau berpura-pura”. Para penyelidik menyatakan bahawa “keputusan kami menyokong tanggapan bahawa kanak-kanak transgender tersebut adalah tidak keliru, tertangguh, menunjukkan respon di luar norma gender atau gender a-typical response, berpura-pura, ataupun disebaliknya. Mereka sebaliknya menunjukkan respon sepenuhnya secara biasa dan dijangka untuk kanak-kanak dengan identiti gender mereka tersebut”.

Para penyelidik mendapati respon daripada kanak-kanak transgender tidak dapat dibezakan daripada kanak-kanak cisgender. Data daripada kanak-kanak perempuan transgender menunjukkan corak yang sama dengan data dari kanak-kanak perempuan cisgender, dan data dari kanak-kanak lelaki transgender menunjukkan corak yang sama dengan data dari kanak-kanak lelaki cisgender. Sebagai contoh, kanak-kanak perempuan transgender lebih suka berkawan dengan kanak-kanak perempuan lain dan mereka cenderung dan lebih suka dengan mainan dan makanan yang gadis-gadis lain suka, sama seperti kanak-kanak perempuan cisgender.

Memahami dysphoria gender.       

Manual Diagnostik Statistik (DSM) 5 menjelaskan gender dysphoria sebagai sesuatu pengalaman yang dialami oleh individu yang mendapati pengalama hidup mereka berbeza dengan gender yang diberikan ketika lahir. DSM-5 juga memberikan cadangan untuk mengurangkan tekanan dan kebimbangan disebabkan oleh ketidakupayaan untuk menyatakan identiti gender sahih mereka.

DSM-5 juga menekankan bahawa dysphoria gender adalah bukan satu mental heath disorder. Gender identity disorder (GID) telah digantikan dengan dysphoria gender dalam DSM terkini untuk mengelakkan stigma dan memastikan akses kepada penjagaan serta sokongan bagi individu yang mendapati pengalaman hidup mereka berbeza daripada gender yang diberikan ketika lahir berdasarkan alat kelamin mereka.

Kepelbagaian gender dalam sejarah manusia                                                                       

Transgender dan individu daripada pelbagai gender, telah dan sentiasa wujud sepanjang sejarah manusia. Michael Peletz di dalam bukunya bertajuk ‘Pluralisme Gender di Asia Tenggara’ mendokumenkan kewujudan sida-sida, yang sama dengan identiti transgender hari ini seperti di istana Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, Johor, dan bahagian-bahagian lain di Malaya dan kawasan di Indonesia. Sida-sida tinggal di kamar dalaman istana, dan telah diamanahkan dengan urusan adat istiadat istana serta pemeliharaan kuasa yang khas pemerintah.

Rujukan lanjut kepada sida-sida boleh didapati dalam Hikayat Melayu, seperti Hikayat Amer Hamzah. Profesor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, seorang ahli antropologi Malaysia yang pernah melihat sida-sida di istana semasa beliau seorang kanak-kanak, menggambarkan mereka sebagai diberikan identiti lelaki ketika lahir, yang berpakaian dan berperanan perempuan.

Di Borneo, terdapat beberapa identiti seperti manang bali, basir dan balian, yang digambarkan sebagai individu-individu yang telah diberikan gender lelaki ketika lahir, yang termaktub identiti perempuan serta melaksanakan peranan gender yang dilakukan oleh wanita cisgender. Basir, dalam Gender Pluralism in South East Asia, pula digambarkan sebagai seseorang yang “pakaian seperti seorang wanita dan juga dalam kehidupan peribadinya, membahagikan rambut mereka di tengah-tengah dahi mereka sama seperti seorang wanita (cisgender).” Manang bali, basir dan balian juga pakar ritual, dukun dan bomoh, dan sebagainya.

Identiti yang sama dilihat di seluruh dunia – Hijrah di India; calabai, calalai dan bissu di Indonesia; asog/bayugin di Filipina; Mukhannathun di Mekah dan Madinah; Fa’afafine di Samoa dan New Zealand; Māhū di Hawai’I; two-spirit di Amerika Utara, dan banyak lagi.

Perubahan sikap.                                                                         

Dengan pencerahan and perkembangan dalam pemahaman gender, banyak negara di Amerika Latin, Asia Selatan, Eropah, Amerika Utara dan lain-lain telah memperkenalkan undang-undang pengiktirafan gender yang membolehkan individu transgender menukar nama dan penanda gender (gender marker) dalam dokumen undang-undang tanpa apa-apa intervensi perubatan atau pembedahan. Proses ini dijangka”cepat, telus dan boleh diakses”, berdasarkan penentuan dan keazaman sendiri. Sebagai contoh, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act in Malta di Malta, memerlukan perisytiharan yang mudah berdasarkan prosedur penentuan sendiri oleh seseorang sebelum notari, dan melarang permintaan untuk mendapatkan maklumat perubatan untuk proses tersebut. Keseluruhan proses tidak melebihi 30 hari.

Realiti di Malaysia.                                                                                        

Diskriminasi dan keganasan terhadap golongan transgender adalah satu fenomena yang bermula pada tahun 80-an. Sebelum waktu itu, individu transgender juga turut menikmati beberapa hak, termasuklah penukaran nama dan identiti gender mereka di dalam dokumen rasmi, seperti kad pengenalan berdasarkan status pembedahan.

Semua 14 negeri di Malaysia mempunyai undang-undang yang menjenayahkan wanita transgender berdasarkan identiti gender dan ekspresi gender, manakala 3 negeri mempunyai undang-undang yang melarang orang perempuan yang berlagak sebagai lelaki atau memakai pakaian lelaki di tempat awam untuk tujuan tidak bermoral. Undang-undang ini telah diperkenalkan antara tahun 1985 dan 2012.

Sebelum fatwa itu dilaksanakan dalam tahun 1983, yang mana melarang pembedahan peneguhan gender untuk golongan trans, pembedahan peneguhan gender ada disediakan oleh doktor tempatan di Hospital Universiti. Selepas itu, golongan transgender tidak lagi boleh menukar nama mereka dan penanda gender dalam dokumen undang-undang mereka. Undang-undang dan fatwa diperkenalkan pada tahun 80-an telah menyebabkan akses kepada hak asasi manusia, termasuklah pendidikan, pekerjaan, kesihatan dan perumahan, lebih bertambah merosot lagi, yang sekaligus meminggirkan komuniti transgender.

Ini adalah masanya untuk orang ramai memahami bahawa golongan trans adalah normal, tidak berpura-pura,’cross-dressing’, melalui satu-satu fasa, atau tidak pasti identiti gender mereka. Individu transgender hanyalah menyatakan dan mengekspresikan diri mereka, seperti individu cisgender.

Kekurangan pemahaman seks dan gender menyebabkan stigma, diskriminasi, keganasan dan halangan bagi individu untuk mengekspresikan diri mereka serta menjadi diri mereka yang sebenar. Oleh itu, adalah sangat penting bagi orang ramai untuk mendidik diri mereka sendiri dan antara satu sama lain tentang konsep asas seks serta gender yang berpandukan pengalaman hidup seseorang dan pendekatan berasaskan bukti.

 

rest in power Aleesha Farhana

4 years ago on 30th July 2011, Aleesha Farhana died of a heart attack and depression following a painful legal battle to just to be herself. rest in power Aleesha 🙂

“One of the bravest young women I will never know passed away in conditions of extreme physical distress and unimaginable mental anguish at approximately 5am on July the 30th, 2011. Her name was Aleesha Farhana.

Buoyed by the sanction of State, Religious Authority and Community, she was buried in a grave that will carry the wrong name; a name not hers by choice, because she was one of the few people on the planet that get to choose their own name to reflect the reality of their being. Aleesha had chosen to be a woman: the woman that she knew herself to be.” Omar Salahuddin, 31 July 2011, malaysian insider
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/a-word-not-often-used-omar-salahuddin/
http://www.loyarburok.com/2011/08/01/court-aleesha-farhana-change-gender/

11805691_10153569485398885_1225682093_n

‘Mak Nyah’ witch-hunt fear

Council raises concern transgender persecution may increase discrimination
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2012 – 12:47
by Hamzah Nazari
Location:
KUALA LUMPUR

A RECENT case in Negri Sembilan where four transgender persons lost their case when challenging a ban on Muslim men dressing and posing as women could spark a witch-hunt by the authorities against the community, the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) said.

“We don’t want these things to happen again in other states,” said MAC media and communications head Azahemy Abdullah, when commenting on an earlier MAC statement backing the cause of the four transgender persons.

“While MAC respects the decision of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Court, we firmly believe that every Malaysian is entitled to equal protection and dignity under the country’s constitutional rights,” said Azahemy.

“We fear that this judgment could lead to increased stigma as well as acts of persecution and discrimination by authorities, especially from the enforcement officials of the religious department.”

However, practising Syariah Court lawyer Fakhrul Azman Abu Hasan said Syariah Courts prosecuting transgender persons was not a new trend.

“The syariah law is very clear. A man cannot act as a woman and a woman cannot act as a man,” he said.

He said the Syariah Court prosecution and judges had to act according to the law but usually opt to send transgender Muslims for counselling.

“They give chances, arrange for an Ustaz to give lectures on why they are born as men and women.”

“Most will plead guilty and not contest it. They will pay the fine,” he said.

Fakhrul Azman said transgender persons could challenge the law by claiming it was against human rights in the Federal Court, or by getting their plight to be heard in Parliament.

If they were to win in court, he said the law would be deemed void, but added that this would be difficult as, unlike in European countries, morality is taken as law in Malaysia.

“They (Europeans) do not take morality as law, but in Asian and Muslim countries, they do.”

“The law has been enacted by parliament. If the law is there, the judges have to follow,” he said.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said transgender Muslims were treated well in the past and there was no reason as a matter of policy why they should be persecuted or prosecuted now.

He quoted Teh Yik Koon’s essay, “The Male To Female Transsexuals In Malaysia: What Should We Do With Them?” in which the writer claimed that transgender persons, commonly known as ‘Mak Nyahs’ in Malaysia, had a better standard of living during the colonial days and that there were less sex workers then compared to now.

Many were Mak Andams (bride’s attendants), joget dancers, cooks or artistes.

He said in an interview with a 63-year-old ‘Mak Nyah’, it was related that during the colonial days, they were left undisturbed.

Lim said Malaysians must ask themselves why people who are different and who are at the margins of society could not be accepted.

“Why can’t we accept them as who they are with compassion, and liberal and progressive ideals, rejecting extremism?” he asked Lim said: “Human beings should be treated equally, and the principle of nondiscrimination is paramount in this respect.

“Individuals should have the right to make their own choices relating to gender identity,” he said.

Regional groups back transgender 4

Leven Woon | October 18, 2012

Some 21 local and regional rights groups have hit out at the Seremban High Court verdict last week.

PETALING JAYA: A Seremban High Court’s verdict last week against four Muslim transgenders dressing up in women’s clothes has drawn flak from local and regional rights groups.

In a joint statement endorsed by 21 NGOs, including Indonesia’s Arus Pelangi, Cambodia’s League for Promotion and Defence of Human Rights, the Philippines’ Gender and Development Advocates, Burma’s Human Rights Education Institute and Thailand’s Anjaree Lesbian Group, they described the court’s decision as “regressive”.

“We believe as fellow citizens, irrespective of race or religion, transgender people are equally entitled to all the constitutional rights that are enjoyed by other Malaysians.

“We believe the judge’s ruling is a regressive step and adversely affects the human rights of all Malaysians,” they said.
The statement was also supported by local Islamic Renaissance Front, Malaysia Civil Liberties Movement, Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas), Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas), Tenaganita, Seksualiti Merdeka and others.

The groups said they were “distraught and disheartened” with the verdict of Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad who held that Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992, excludes the transgender fundamental liberties under the constitution.

“We are saddened to hear that the court has ruled in favour of the state and its officials, thus condoning discrimination and violence on grounds of gender identity,” they said.

The rights advocates also said that the court had failed to consider the medical evidences, such as the fact that the four transgenders had been diagnosed with “Gender Identity Disorder”.

Citing a statement by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), they said medical experts agreed that laws and policies that discriminate people with “Gender Identity Disorder” or a similar term “Gender Dysphoria” should be repealed.
They said transgender people were often subjected to various forms of violence, stigma and discrimination, such as name calling, bullying, or in some cases families disown them.

“Portrayal of transgender people as deviants and threat to public morality in the mainstream media too contributes to the stigma, discrimination and violence that are faced by the transgender community,” they added.

Last week, the Seremban High Court delivered a blow to the four who filed a judicial review seeking to declare Section 66 of Syariah law as ultra vires with fundamental liberties guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

Siti Mariah had said the four Muslim transgenders are subjected to Syariah law and hence the Federal Constitution should be exempted under this case.

On Monday, NGO Sisters In Islam had called for a comprehensive review on Syariah criminal law.

Golongan transgender juga mempunyai hak!

Kami daripada komuniti transgender sangat kecewa dengan keputusan berkenaan semakan kehakiman seksyen 66 dalam Enakmen Jenayah Syariah 1992 (Negeri Sembilan) yang diberikan oleh Hakim Datuk Siti Mariah Ahmad pada Oktober 11 2012 di Makhamah Tinggi Seremban. Hakim dalam keputusannya menyatakan bahawa seksyen tersebut mengecualikan hak asasi kita yang terkandung dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Kami kecewa dengan keputusan mahkamah yang berpihak kepada kerajaan negeri dan penguatkuasanya, yang sekaligus menggalakkan diskriminasi serta keganasan berdasarkan identiti gender.

Kami juga terkejut dengan keputusan hakim kerana beliau terlalu banyak merujuk kepada teks Islam untuk menjustifikasikan kewujudan undang-undang tersebut, sedangkan Perlembagaan Persekutuan ialah undang-undang yang paling tinggi di Malaysia. Kami meminta mahkamah untuk memeriksa sama ada undang-undang tersebut selaras dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan kerana kami percaya bahawa seksyen 66 dan undang-undang lain yang sama dengannya, tidak konsisten dengan kebebasan kita untuk berekspresi, hak untuk tidak didiskriminasi, maruah diri, privasi, serta hak untuk kerja.

Kami percaya bahawa mahkamah telah membuat kesilapan dalam keputusannya kerana mahkamah gagal untuk meneliti semua bukti-bukti perubatan. Selain itu, mahkamah juga tidak mangambil kira keganasan yang telah dialami oleh golongan mak nyah di negeri Sembilan disebabkan oleh undang-undang ini.

Seksyen 66 dan juga undang-undang lain yang sama dengannya di Malaysia telah digunakan untuk terlalu lama untuk mencabul hak asasi golongan mak nyah di negara ini. Ramai mak nyah, termasuklah empat orang yang memfailkan kes ini, telah mengalami keganasan fizikal, emosi dan seksual serta mereka juga terpaksa mendengar sindiran dan cemuhan daripada penguatkuasa daripada Jabatan Agama Islam. Golongan mak nyah pernah dipukul, ditumbuk, ditendang, diraba, dimaki, dipaksa untuk memuaskan nafsu seks penguatkuasa, dan diaibkan di tempat awam oleh penguatkuasa daripada Jabatan Agama Islam. Salah seorang daripada mereka yang memfailkan kes ini pernah dipukul dengan teruk di tempat awam oleh penguatkuasa daripada Jabatan Agama Islam Negeri Sembilan sehingga meninggalkan kesan fizikal dan mental. Beliau masih lagi mengalami trauma apabila menceritakan semula peristiwa tersebut.

Golongan transgender tidak memilih untuk menjadi transgender dan kami juga tidak boleh mengubah perasaan ini. Kami tidak berlagak seperti jantina yang bertentangan dengan kami. Kami rasa bahawa diri kami tidak seharmoni dengan jantina yang diberikan. Kami mengekspresikan diri kami berdasarkan naluri kami kerana hal ini memberikan kami kebahagiaan dan ketenangan jiwa. Ramai mak nyah seperti kami mula memakai pakaian perempuan dan bersolek sewaktu kami muda lagi; kami lebih gemar bermain dengan perempuan daripada lelaki, dan kami juga ingin mengubah rupa muka kami serta menjalani pembedahan pertukaran jantina (sex reassigment surgery) supaya kami boleh hidup dalam badan yang kami rasa paling selesa.

Dalam edisi terkini Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), American Psychiatric Association (APA) telah menggantikan istilah “Gender Identity Disorder” kepada “Gender Dysphoria,” “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” APA juga dalam kenyataannya menggesa kerajaan untuk memansuhkan undang-undang atau polisi-polisi yang mendiskriminasi golongan transgender dan golongan yang bervariasi gender. (rujuk lampiran 1)

Golongan transgender juga mengalami pelbagai jenis keganasan, stigma dan diskriminasi disebabkan oleh identiti gender kami, kerana kami dilihat sebagai berbeza daripda orang lain. Pada usia yang kecil lagi, kami dibuli dan dicemuh di sekolah. Sebagai kesannya, ramai kanak-kanak transgender ketinggalan di sekoleh atau tidak menyambung atau menghabiskan persekolahan mereka. Dalam sesetengah kes, keluarga mengusir dan tidak mengaku anak-anak transgender mereka kerana mereka tidak boleh menerima seorang anak yang berbeza. Akhirnya, ramai daripada golongan transgender kehilangan sistem sokongan yang penuh dengan kasih sayang yang dinikmati oleh orang lain.

Pemaparan golongan transgender sebagai golongan yang terpesong dan ancaman kepada masyarakat dalam media arus perdana juga mendorong kepada stigma, diskriminasi serta keganasan yang dialami oleh golongan transgender.

Kami percaya bahawa sebagai rakyat, tanpa mengira agama atau kumpulan etnik, golongan transgender juga mempunyai hak untuk menikamti hak-hak yang terkandung dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Sebagai rakyat, kami juga berhak untuk mendapatkan perlindungan daripada kerajaan terhadap apa-apa jenis ketidakadilan, diskriminasi dan keganasan. Kami percaya bahawa keputusan mahkamah ini membawa kesan yang negatif kepada hak asasi manusia bagi semua rakyat Malaysia.

Disokong oleh

1. Aliran, Malaysia
2. Anjaree Lesbian Group Thailand
3. APCOM (Asia Pacific Coalition On Male Sexual Health)
4. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia
5. Asia Pacific Transgender Network
6. Blue Diamond Society, Nepal
7. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
8. CARAM Asia
9. Colors Rainbow, Burma
10. Community Action Network, Malaysia
11. Federation of Sexual and Gender minorities, Nepal
12. Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
13. Gendercare.com (Dr.Torres)
14. GATE (Global Action for Trans* Equality)
15. Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), Burma
16. Indonesia for Humans
17. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
18. Justice for Sisters
19. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
20. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM)
21. Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN)
22. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
23. Pertubuhan Advokasi Masyarakat Terpinggir Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (PAMT)
24. Pink Therapy
25. PT Foundation, Malaysia
26. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
27. Project X, Singapore
28. Rainbow Genders Society (RGS)
29. Seksualiti Merdeka
30. Tenaganita, Malaysia
31. Thai Transgender Alliance
32. Transmen of Malaysia
33. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
34. Wonetha Uganda
35. Yayasan Lintas Nusa, Batam, Indonesia
36. Youth Lead Organisation

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Lampiran 1

APA Stands Up for Transgender, Gender-Variant Individuals
by Deborah Brauser, Medscape Medical News.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has issued official position statements of support for access to healthcare and a repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against individuals who are transgender and gender variant.

In a release, the APA said it will advocate for the removal of barriers to care for gender transition treatment and for the protection of civil rights. The organization has supported lesbian and gay rights since 1973, when it removed homosexuality from the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), and now it wants to publicly support the transgender community.

“Transgender and gender variant people are frequently denied medical, surgical, and psychiatric care related to gender transition,” notes the APA statement. The new position statements were created by the APA Caucus of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychiatrists.

“The APA has officially put itself on record as being in support of these issues. Being transgender should not imply that a person is not a fully capable citizen,” Jack Drescher, MD, who is coauthor of the statements and who is a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

The 2 position statements join a recent report from an APA task force published earlier this year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that lists treatment recommendations for individuals with gender identity disorder (GID).

This treads into thorny territory. Many people, including protestors at the 2009 APA Annual Meeting, have questioned whether GID should be considered a mental disorder and whether it should be included in the upcoming fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5).

“The motivation for originally putting GID in the manual was to try to create access to care,” said Dr. Drescher, who was a consultant on the report.

“But you have sort of 2 conflicting interests: reduction of stigma by removing it from the manual vs access to care, because you can’t get medical treatment unless you have a diagnosis. It’s complicated.”

Discrimination Damaging

“Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of individuals,” writes the APA.

“For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves.”

Both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have previously released strong policy statements of support for these individuals.

The APA’s new Access to Care position statement declares that the organization
• recognizes that these individuals “can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments”;
• supports public and private health insurance coverage for this treatment; and
• is against the rejection of this coverage when it has been prescribed by a clinician.

The new discrimination position statement declares that the APA
• supports all laws that protect the civil rights of these individuals;
• urges the repeal of any discriminatory laws and policies;
• opposes discrimination in the areas of healthcare, as well as in employment, housing, and education; and
• “declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.”
“Speaking out firmly and professionally against discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is a critical advocacy role that the APA is uniquely positioned to take,” writes the organization.

Controversy

Dr. Drescher noted that although the APA has long been an advocate for gay and lesbian civil rights, until now it has not officially released support for the rights of transgender people.

“It was completely silent on transgender issues. These are really the first public position statements that APA has supported. But they oppose stigma of any kind, and these statements are consistent with APA’s mission,” said Dr. Drescher, who was also chair of the APA’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues from 2000 to 2006.

He noted that he has also been advocating for a task force on treatment recommendations since leaving the committee 6 years ago.

“There are a lot of controversies in this area, not so much with adults but around treatment of children. The Task Force came together and put out a document that was approved by the APA that said that treatment of adults was important. And there’s enough literature to justify the development of treatment guidelines,” he said.

Dr. Drescher is also part of the Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders for the DSM-5.

“As part of my job there, I did a review of the history of homosexuality being taken out of the DSM, especially because a lot of people in the trans community have been demanding the removal of GID. And I was intrigued by the parallels,” he explained.

“On the one hand, I could see that by taking something out, you reduce stigma. But if you take homosexuality out of the manual, gay people don’t need anything else other than the diagnoses everyone else has. If you take out gender identity disorder, adults who require treatment don’t have any other diagnosis. So it’s not exactly the same.”

Jack Drescher, MD is the President of Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. His position statements are available on the APA’s Web site. For more information on Transgender Issues in Psychology, please visit here.

Transgender people have rights too!

We, the transgender community, are very disappointed, distraught and disheartened with the unfavourable verdict of Justice Datuk Siti Mariah Ahmad on 11th of October 2012 in the High Court at Seremban, where the Judge held that section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 excludes our fundamental liberties under the Constitution.

We are saddened to hear that the court has ruled in favour of the State and its officials, thus condoning discrimination and violence on grounds of gender identity.

We are also shocked by the reliance on Islamic texts in her ruling to justify the existence of the law when it is the Constitution that is the supreme law of Malaysia. We seek a review of the constitutionality of the law as we believe that section 66 and other similar laws are inconsistent with our freedom of expression, right to non-discrimination, dignity, privacy and right to livelihood.

We believe the court erred in its decision in failing to consider all medical evidence and overlooked the mistreatment and violence that the transwomen in Negeri Sembilan have been subjected to because of this law.

Section 66 and similar laws in other states in Malaysia have been used for far too long to violate the rights of the transwomen in this country. Many transwomen, including the four applicants in the case, have been subjected to physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse by officers employed by the Islamic religious department. They have been beaten, punched, kicked, groped, molested, insulted, coerced for sexual favours and humiliated in public places by Islamic religious officers. On one account, one of the applicants was brutally beaten up in a public place by the religious officers, leaving her with physical and mental scars. She is still disturbed by the incident and is traumatized when recounting it.

Transgender people do not choose to be transgender and neither can we change it. We do not impersonate or pose as the opposite sex. We live in disharmony with our assigned gender, and express ourselves based on how we feel on the inside, which gives us inner peace and personal happiness. Many transwomen like ourselves start wearing female clothes and make-up at a young age; we prefer to play with girls rather than boys, and some of us intend to change our facial attributes and undergo sex reassignment surgery to live in the body that we are most comfortable with.

In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) the American Psychiatric Association (APA) replaced the diagnostic term “Gender Identity Disorder” with the term “Gender Dysphoria,” “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” The APA too, in a statement urged the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people. (Refer to Appendix 1)

Transgender people are subjected to many forms of violence, stigma and discrimination because of our gender identity, because we are perceived as different. At a very young age, we are subjected to name calling and bullying in schools. As a result, many transgender children fall behind in school or display very little interest in continuing and finishing their studies. In some cases, families disown and kick out their transgender children simply because family members cannot accept a child who is different. Consequently, many transgender people are deprived of a loving support system that others enjoy.

Portrayal of transgender people as deviants and threat to public morality in the mainstream media too contributes to the stigma, discrimination and violence that are faced by the transgender community.

We believe as fellow citizens, irrespective of race or religion, transgender people are equally entitled to all the constitutional rights that are enjoyed by other Malaysians. As residents of this country, we are also entitled to protection by the state from any form of injustice, discrimination and violence. We believe the judge’s ruling is a regressive step and adversely affects the human rights of all Malaysians.

Endorsed by

1. Aliran, Malaysia
2. Anjaree Lesbian Group Thailand
3. APCOM (Asia Pacific Coalition On Male Sexual Health)
4. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia
5. APROASE A.C.
6. Asia Pacific Transgender Network
7. Asia Pacific Network for HIV+ People (APN+)
8. Blue Diamond Society, Nepal
9. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
10. CARAM Asia
11. Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF
12. Colors Rainbow, Burma
13. Community Action Network, Malaysia
14. Federation of Sexual and Gender minorities, Nepal
15. Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
16. Gendercare.com (Dr.Torres)
17. GATE (Global Action for Trans* Equality)
18. Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), Burma
19. Indonesia for Humans
20. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
21. Justice for Sisters
22. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
23. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM)
24. MSMGF Trans Ref Group
25. Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN)
26. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
27. Pertubuhan Advokasi Masyarakat Terpinggir Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (PAMT)
28. Pink Therapy
29. PT Foundation, Malaysia
30. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
31. Project X, Singapore
32. Rainbow Genders Society (RGS)
33. Seksualiti Merdeka
34. Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII)
35. Tenaganita, Malaysia
36. Te Tiare Association, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
37. Thai Transgender Alliance
38. Transgender community advisory board of Thailand
39. Transgender watch dog group of Thailand
40. Transmen of Malaysia
41. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
42. Wonetha Uganda
43. Yayasan Lintas Nusa, Batam, Indonesia
44. Youth Lead Organisation

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Appendix 1

APA Stands Up for Transgender, Gender-Variant Individuals
by Deborah Brauser, Medscape Medical News.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has issued official position statements of support for access to healthcare and a repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against individuals who are transgender and gender variant.

In a release, the APA said it will advocate for the removal of barriers to care for gender transition treatment and for the protection of civil rights. The organization has supported lesbian and gay rights since 1973, when it removed homosexuality from the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), and now it wants to publicly support the transgender community.

“Transgender and gender variant people are frequently denied medical, surgical, and psychiatric care related to gender transition,” notes the APA statement. The new position statements were created by the APA Caucus of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychiatrists.

“The APA has officially put itself on record as being in support of these issues. Being transgender should not imply that a person is not a fully capable citizen,” Jack Drescher, MD, who is coauthor of the statements and who is a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

The 2 position statements join a recent report from an APA task force published earlier this year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that lists treatment recommendations for individuals with gender identity disorder (GID).

This treads into thorny territory. Many people, including protestors at the 2009 APA Annual Meeting, have questioned whether GID should be considered a mental disorder and whether it should be included in the upcoming fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5).

“The motivation for originally putting GID in the manual was to try to create access to care,” said Dr. Drescher, who was a consultant on the report.

“But you have sort of 2 conflicting interests: reduction of stigma by removing it from the manual vs access to care, because you can’t get medical treatment unless you have a diagnosis. It’s complicated.”

Discrimination Damaging

“Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of individuals,” writes the APA.

“For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves.”

Both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have previously released strong policy statements of support for these individuals.

The APA’s new Access to Care position statement declares that the organization
• recognizes that these individuals “can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments”;
• supports public and private health insurance coverage for this treatment; and
• is against the rejection of this coverage when it has been prescribed by a clinician.

The new discrimination position statement declares that the APA
• supports all laws that protect the civil rights of these individuals;
• urges the repeal of any discriminatory laws and policies;
• opposes discrimination in the areas of healthcare, as well as in employment, housing, and education; and
• “declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.”
“Speaking out firmly and professionally against discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is a critical advocacy role that the APA is uniquely positioned to take,” writes the organization.

Controversy

Dr. Drescher noted that although the APA has long been an advocate for gay and lesbian civil rights, until now it has not officially released support for the rights of transgender people.

“It was completely silent on transgender issues. These are really the first public position statements that APA has supported. But they oppose stigma of any kind, and these statements are consistent with APA’s mission,” said Dr. Drescher, who was also chair of the APA’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues from 2000 to 2006.

He noted that he has also been advocating for a task force on treatment recommendations since leaving the committee 6 years ago.

“There are a lot of controversies in this area, not so much with adults but around treatment of children. The Task Force came together and put out a document that was approved by the APA that said that treatment of adults was important. And there’s enough literature to justify the development of treatment guidelines,” he said.

Dr. Drescher is also part of the Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders for the DSM-5.

“As part of my job there, I did a review of the history of homosexuality being taken out of the DSM, especially because a lot of people in the trans community have been demanding the removal of GID. And I was intrigued by the parallels,” he explained.

“On the one hand, I could see that by taking something out, you reduce stigma. But if you take homosexuality out of the manual, gay people don’t need anything else other than the diagnoses everyone else has. If you take out gender identity disorder, adults who require treatment don’t have any other diagnosis. So it’s not exactly the same.”

Jack Drescher, MD is the President of Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. His position statements are available on the APA’s Web site. For more information on Transgender Issues in Psychology, please visit here.