Stop Discrimination Against Transgender People


According to the Human Rights Watch, transgender people in Malaysia face criminal prosecution under laws that effectively prohibit “cross-dressing” and discrimination in accessing employment, health care, and education. The Human Rights Watch has found that “state Religious Department officials and police regularly arrest transgender women and subject them to various abuses, including assault, extortion, and violations of their privacy rights. Religious Department officials have physically and sexually assaulted transgender women during arrest or in custody, and humiliated them by parading them before the media.”

Since the 1980s, each state has passed Sharia criminal enactments that institutionalize discrimination against transgender people. All 13 Malaysian states prohibit Muslim men from “dressing as women,” while three states also criminalize “women posing as men.” Boris Dittrich, LGBT advocacy director stated: “Transgender people in Malaysia risk arrest every day they step out of their door simply because of the way they express themselves. The authorities shouldn’t be harassing and punishing people just for being who they are.”

Something needs to be done to stop discrimination against transgender people. Dittrich has further stated that: “Malaysia urgently needs to scrap laws that discriminate against transgender people, adhere to international rights standards, and put in place comprehensive non-discrimination legislation that protects them. It is high time that the authorities recognized that transgender people have the same rights as all Malaysians.” Do you agree with Dittrich? Why or why not? I believe something needs to be done as soon as possible to protect these people’s rights. The Malaysian government needs to repeal these laws that discriminate against transgender people. Malaysia’s law against “cross-dressing” is contrary to the internationally guaranteed rights to non-discrimination, privacy, and freedom of expression and movement recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose provisions are considered reflective of customary international law. Additionally, Malaysia’s federal constitution states that the people have a right to equal protection under Article 8. However, are these transgender people actually being treated equally? What should the Malaysia government do to make sure they are treated equally? The way the police are treating these transgender people is cruel and inhumane. Something needs to be done and it needs to be fast. Transgender people should not be punished for being who they are and should be given equal protection just like everyone else under the law.


Source:  Human Rights Watch

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