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Hear Malaysian Trans People Speak Up On Transgender Day of Remembrance 2019

Article compiled by Rania Hashim

In conjunction with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), we commemorate the lives that have been lost to violence and hate crimes. This year, transgender rights NGO, Justice for Sisters has documented at least 3 cases of murders against transgender women in Malaysia. Many continue to face gender-based violence, with most cases being undetected and under-reported.

We asked a few trans and gender non-conforming Malaysians on what TDOR means to them, and what can be done to eliminate gender-based violence and crimes against trans and gender non-conforming people. Here are their voices.

1. Arabelle, Kuala Lumpur

TDOR is a day to remind everyone of the injustices that transgender people still face to this day. It is a reminder that bigotry is still around, and people are dying because of it. It is to remind us that there is still a lot of work left to do when it comes to the human rights of trans people.

Art by Shika

2. Sulastri Ariffin, Kuala Lumpur

TDOR merupakan hari memperingati komuniti transgender yang jadi mangsa pembunuhan kejam atas sebab kebencian, stigma dan keganasan di seluruh dunia. 

Isu keganasan berasaskan gender semakin teruk terhadap golongan transgender dan gender non-conforming dan ia semakin berleluasa tanpa pembelaan pihak-pihak yang sepatutnya melindungi golongan minoriti. 

Ia boleh dihentikan sekiranya pihak-pihak berkuasa terutama ahli politik, orang agama dan media berhenti menyebarkan kebencian terhadap dan orang kepelbagaian gender (gender diverse people). Pendidikan seks di sekolah juga memainkan peranan penting utk beri kesedaran tentang Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE). SUHAKAM juga harus lebih lantang dalam isu-isu keganasan dan diskriminasi terhadap individu transgender dan yang lain. Pihak berkuasa seperti polis harus diberi kesedaran tentang SOGIE dan isu yang dihadapi komuniti transgender. Undang-undang yang criminalise komuniti transgender harus dimansuhkan sebab ia adalah ibu kepada keganasan yang berlaku.

Art by Forward Together

3. Faris Saad, Kuala Lumpur 

The government is not the immediate perpetrator of violence against transgender or gender non-conforming people. Still, it has the responsibility of ensuring every citizen’s safety, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It has failed to do so, many times.  

The government is not the immediate perpetrator of violence against transgender or gender non-conforming people. Still, it has the responsibility of ensuring every citizen’s safety, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It has failed to do so, many times.  

The laws (both civil and shariah) should protect every citizen’s right to live a full and productive life, but we have seen too many incidents where this is not the case. Instead, the same justice system that is meant to protect the rights of every citizen is used against them. For what purpose?  

How will erasing those who don’t fit into what’s deemed as “normal” help the country? Is it even possible? What’s wrong with letting good folks live in peace? 

Art by Shika

Society evolves and changes over time, and its laws are adapted accordingly, but Malaysia has yet to move forward with even a basic understanding of human rights. The idea of human rights has been called a Western concept and “not suited to Islamic beliefs and Asian culture”. They forget Islam is also not originally part of Asian culture, yet we’ve erased so much of our own culture and identity to fit into this Arabic ideal. Itu ok pulak. 

While we’ll still work to get the government to change its stance on transgender people, right now we’ll do what we can to get everyday people to understand who we are, Malaysians just like them. We have the same needs and aspirations. We laugh at the same memes. We all hate traffic jams and water shortages. All these things have no basis on what’s between our legs. The sooner we understand this, the better it is for everyone.

Read Faris’ previous work here.

4. Effasiti, Kelantan 

Bagi saya, langkah yang terbaik adalah bermula daripada pihak kerajaan ataupun peranan jabatan-jabatan tertentu.

Tun M perlulah bertegas dalam hal keganasan terhadap komuniti kita ini yang mana ia juga termasuk dalam ancaman keselamatan terhadap warganegara. PM juga perlulah memberi jaminan kepada individu trans, queer dan khunsa (intersex) ini sentiasa selamat selama berada di negara ini as we are always yang menjadi mangsa keganasan ini.

Kerajaan juga perlulah jelas dan tegas dalam memperkenalkan undang-undang yang melindungi individu tersebut daripada keganasan dan kezaliman dalam bentuk fizikal mahupun mental. Pesalah yang terlibat dalam melakukan keganasan ini perlulah dihadapkan ke muka pengadilan dan dihukum dengan hukuman yang setimpal.

Art by Shika

5. Minisha, Kuala Lumpur

The inspiring meaning behind TDOR is that, although it is sad to remember the lives we lost due to transphobia and hate, we also witness a lot of allies, international organisations, embassies, professionals and individuals who stand behind us showing their support. TDOR brings people closer together and makes the community stronger, especially with the backing of our allies. I would like to reiterate SEED’s slogan “no one gets left behind”.

Source: TGEU

6. Manis Chen, Kuala Lumpur

We face violence, hate crimes and discrimination in our daily lives. Erasing our existence is definitely not the solution.


Download and share these and other TDOR 2019 campaign visuals here!