Why should Transgender Malaysians vote?
by NISHA AYUB.
I used to ask myself: Why should I vote since I’m not treated equally as other citizens?
Why should I vote since we have laws that criminalise Transgender people here in Malaysia?
Why should I vote since the government and religous bodies are imposing the corrective approach in order to change our gender identity and sexuality?
Why should I vote since politicians say that Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, and Bi people are not accepted by society and that we are enemies of Islam?
Why should I vote since I don’t feel protected by the laws here in Malaysia?
Why should I vote when we were abandoned by the Ministry of Women as they dumped us and left the community without any kind of support?
Why should I vote when our educational institutions don’t support Trans people to be who we are and even encourage campaigns and forums that use religion to change the community?
Why should I vote when even till today, members of my fellow Transgender community are being charged and put in prison just because of our gender identity?
Why should I vote when bullying of the community is encouraged in schools, universities, and even within the general public?
Why should I vote when we members of the Transgender community are often portrayed as deviants and other negative stereotypes in the mainstream media which are instructed by the government to do so?
Why should I vote when till today we Transgender people are not recognised as citizens and are not part of any support system here in Malaysia? Do you know how difficult it is for a Transgender person to seek social welfare? Do you know we are not even eligible to apply for goverment housings?
Why should I vote when Transgender people are not given our rights to health today, even though in the 80s, sex reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and trans-specific healthcare were provided, but was eventually banned because of a fatwa?
Why should I vote when law enforcers don’t see us as part of the system and entitled to our rights, therefore they use violence against us, target the community for arrest, subject us to sexual harassment, and just make our lives miserable?
Why should I vote when we have religous bodies and religous NGOs trying their very best to deny our existence and rights by imposing their own personal beliefs upon the community, creating more hate and harm towards us through the support of Government funds?
I can go on and on with all the negative reasons for not voting but at the end it’s because of all these reasons that I should VOTE in order to change the future of the community. I encourage all members of the Transgender community — and also others who don’t fit within the norms created by people who want to dictate our lives — to vote.
Every vote counts. We as members of the most marginalised community should come forward to vote. Only by voting are we able to have the hope to change the system here in Malaysia.
Who we vote for will determine the future of our life here in Malaysia. We are citizens who have the power to change the country for the better.
They can deny us our right to our gender identity and sexuality but they cannot deny us our right to VOTE. 😉💝😊
I’M PLEADING TO EVERY MEMBER OF MY BELOVED TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY ALL AROUND MALAYSIA, LETS VOTE AND MAKE A CHANGE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. WE DESERVE TO BE GIVEN THE SAME RIGHTS AS OTHER CITIZENS OF MALAYSIA.
~ ~ ~
Nisha Ayub is a Malaysian transgender rights activist. Nisha is the co-founder of the community-run SEED Foundation and transgender grassroots campaign Justice for Sisters and is the first transgender woman to be awarded with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award in 2016.
This is published and edited with permission from Nisha Ayub’s Facebook post.