Tuesday, June 28, 2016


posted on Siti Kasim's fb post today
Great article written by Ahmad Soffian. Please read and share. We need more young Malays to speak up like him.
Malaysians are divided in reacting towards the Sharia law issue which has become headline news for the past few weeks. Even the Muslim Malaysian majority is split as not all Muslims supports the notion of giving more power to the Sharia Court and the Malaysian Sharia legal system.
Even if it is not hudud that is being tabled at the Parliament, the mere thought of giving more power to the Sharia Court send chills down our spine. Should more powers given to a system that is currently being heavily criticised not only by non-Muslims but also by Muslims alike?
It is a well-known notion that the Malaysian Sharia law caters to the judicial provisions that only applies to Muslims. As small as it may be, the Sharia courts have their jurisdiction in personal law matters, such as marriage, inheritance, adherence to the Sunni-Islamic Shafi’i School teachings and apostasy.
Unlike the federal court system that is unified under the Malaysian legal system, the Sharia Courts are tools for individual states. It seems that over the years, the Sharia legal system has been trying its best to encroach other parts of the law and unleashed its power not only towards private but also public matters.
Somehow, the duality of our judicial system (civil and sharia courts) creates a paradox that usually cause mass confusion and the abandonment of the values laid down by the Malaysian constitution. To say that the Sharia legal enclave only effects Muslims is truly a misguided thought. There are a lot of cases where non-Muslims are effected in Sharia cases.
As non-Muslims do not have any right in the Sharia courts, when they brought the matter to the civil court, they are then faced with the amended clause in the constitution that says the civil court does not have any jurisdiction over the Sharia court (refer the Malaysian Federal Constitution Article 121 (1A).
Personal liberties of Malaysian Muslims are also at stake. Giving more power to Sharia law means more personal rights will be infringed. It seems that we have forgotten that most Islamic laws and regulations are personal limitations that are imposed by God to a person and not laws that must be enforced by any government.
Personal sins are not crimes
Personal sins are not crimes that must be punished by imposing ridiculous amount of fines, jail time or even whipping. What we are doing now strays far from what Prophet Muhammad and his companions did.
For example, in the days of the prophet and his companions there was never any anti-vice operation (operasi cegah maksiat) that is frequently done by our local Islamic enforcers. Never once did the prophet go to Muslim houses and did a spot check whether they did any sins or not.
Unlike our state Islamic authorities which do not have any problem infringing personal space, even with the use of force to kick open any premises to seek and charge Muslims over their personal sins.
Now in Kelantan, women are subjected to Sharia enforcement regarding the clothes that they wear. There is no record of such acts being permitted in Islam even in the times of the Sahaba or the Caliphate. It seems that the Kelantan government is copying what has been done by the likes of extremist such as the Taliban.
It is empirical that we tell the government and the small minority of Malaysians who think that personal sin should be punished publicly, that their views and understanding of Islam is fundamentally distorted. Whatever agenda that they pursue is not from Islam and any teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. They also need to understand that Malaysia is a secular country albeit our adherence to the fact that Islam is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia.
Muslim religious scholars should not demonise secularism as it is also the pillar that upholds the people of this country regardless of our faiths. Secularism should be celebrated and not be scorned upon especially when dealings with matters that concerns not only the Muslim but also the non-Muslims in Malaysia.
Yes, we should uphold the sanctity of Islam, however, we must also uphold the civil liberties that has been bestowed upon each and every Malaysians so that no laws that is against the Federal Constitution of Malaysia shall be imposed on us.
Let those who commit personal sins be brought to justice in the eyes of God. There is no room for religious bigots, extremist, chauvinist and racist of any ideologies in our Malaysia.
AHMAD SOFFIAN MOHD SHARIFF is executive secretary, Shah Alam Welfare Association.

Monday, June 27, 2016

stream / arus 7


stream / arus 6


Denmark will become first country

Denmark is set to become the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness.
Government officials said classifying transgender people as mentally ill was “stigmatising” and they had “run out of patience” with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) work on the definition. 
Being transgender is officially considered a mental or behavioural disorder by the WHO, although the organisation is currently assessing its guidance. 
Changes by the WHO are characteristically slow, and the Danishgovernment will now aim to push ahead with the move on 1 January 2017.  

“At the moment, transgender is listed as a mental illness or behavioural problem,” Social Democrat health spokesman Flemming Moller Mortensen told Danish news agencyRitzau. “That is incredibly stigmatising and in no way reflects how we see transgender people in Denmark. It should be a neutral diagnosis.” 
He added: "The WHO is currently working on a new system for registering diagnoses. It has been working on it for a very, very long time. Now we’ve run out of patience, and want to send out a signal saying that if the system is not changed by October, then we in Denmark will go it alone.”

Classifying being transgendered as mentally ill can also cause other problems, Mr Mortensen said. “It’s incredibly discriminatory to put transgender people in a box with mental and behavioural illnesses. It also has other consequences," he said. "Trans people can be denied insurance because they have a diagnosis."
Health Minster Sophie Lohde confirmed to local media that there would be a “Danish solo act” to push ahead with the move if the WHO did not publish its report into the issue in a timely fashion.
The proposal to declassify sexual orientation in theInternational Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) was first submitted in January 2014. The revised ICD is not expected until 2017.
In the 1993 WHOclassifications, a person whose “gender identity or sexual preference is not in doubt, but...wishes it were different” is listed as a ‘Psychological and Behavioural Disorder associated with Sexual Development and Orientation’.

Denmark has been criticised by rights groups in the past for its treatment of transgender people, who had to undergo forced sterilisation and gain medical approval before being legally recognised as a different gender. However, in 2014, a landmark ruling allowed transgendered adults to legally choose their own gender identity without official medical approval.

Malaysian now organiser of NY gay pride parade

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — A Malaysian man who sought asylum in the US due to the discrimination over his sexuality is the director of what is set to be the largest gay pride parade ever in New York this year.
Julian Sanjivan, the volunteer in charge of organising the event in Manhattan business centre of the US city today, was elected as the march director by the Heritage of Pride committee last year.
Sanjivan's tale was covered in a Wall Street Journal article on the preparations for the parade in New York, which examined the hectic affair of arranging the annual parade calling for equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people following the deadly shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier this month.
According to the US newspaper, Sanjivan said he was granted asylum in the US last year, after he was picked for a programme sponsored by the US State Department. He had been a HIV/AIDS awareness activist prior.
Sanjivan said he found New York “overwhelming” at first due to the overt poverty and homelessness there, but found greater tolerance towards non-heterosexual people.
It was not all smooth sailing for Sanjivan, who said he struggled to find employment after his tenure with the State Department programme ended. He could not be legally employed as he was not a US citizen.
Sanjivan said he came close to becoming homeless as his savings dwindled by the day, before he was finally granted asylum.
“It was a very depressed time,” he was quoted as saying in the article.
Sanjivan now works at BubbleBall, a startup that sells and rents inflatable balls each large enough to contain a person, which are used for games similar in concept to bumper cars.
Interest in gay pride parades spiked in response to the June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, where a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others.
Sanjivan's prominence in organising the New York edition of the gay pride parade parallels the recognition given to Malaysian activists despite the rampant discrimination they face at home.
In March, Malaysian transgender activist Nisha Ayub was given the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for her work in the transgender community.
Muslim-majority Malaysia vehemently objects to the perceived rise in LGBT activities, which they deem to be an assault against Islam together with growing calls for greater civil liberties.
Local revulsion towards the LGBT community was demonstrated when some Malaysians rejoiced over the killings of gay men in the Orlando incident, and in their subsequent threat to boycott Honda over its message of solidarity with victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-now-organiser-of-ny-gay-pride-parade?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook#sthash.002HFrbY.dpuf

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On LGBT Malay being a refugee

This writing is to refute the article published on Astro Awani which I just realized days ago. It is on a remarkable decision by the Canadian court that has granted Hazim Ismail, Malaysian gay and atheist, the status of refugee. The readers are advisable to read the article before tuning into this writing.

In Malaysia
Living in Malaysia in this modern age is not lucky as some people would think. The luxuries of architectural sensation and delightful cuisine are in no way a mirror to a freedom of expression, conscience and thoughts. You may also think of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, cities rained with capitalistic seduction and satisfaction but not human rights.
Although Malaysia does not have special anti-LGBT law, there are provisions discriminatory and persecutory towards the sexual minorities and thus ultra viresand undermine the secular rule of law. The country is also under threat of rising extremism potentially leading to a violent extremism or terrorism. One of the reasons is because of the fastest “internalization” of Saudi religious teachings into the local education which are very rigid and non tolerant towards LGBTs thus have caused erosion on Malay values.
Gold-carved platinum cards written “Islam” are used in political commerce to win the trust of fickle voters which in fact appealing to many semi-urban and rural Malays. The hypocrisy further creates a strain between the government and progressive faith-based organizations like Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) Malaysiaand other left-wing organizations that call for inclusive, humanist, nonpatriachal and nonviolent exegesis of religion and human rights.
In that striking hemisphere of voices, fundamentalist groups are stronger in a sense of massive supports of political nexus and finance by the government, gov-backed entities and radical Islamist patrons abroad. However, the stronger they become the louder progressive organizations are to challenge the distorted narrative, like “LGBT Muslims should be murdered and rehabilitated”, with critical thinking and power of ideas. Doing that is not to spawn enmity, but to liberate another part of Muslim society from religious coercion and conviction.

Draconian laws against LGBTs
Section 377A of the Penal Code 1997 on sodomy is an archaic law inherited from England which had repealed the law. Whereas in Sharia Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997 (and other states) stipulates that any man who commits anal intercourse with another man shall be guilty of sodomy.  This is also supported by a fatwa (a decree from Muslim scholars) that describes LGBTs as an inverse “species”.
Yes, the laws may not be enforced strictly by the authorities compared to anti-transgender law because of the quantum of proof to show penetration. Nevertheless, mere presence of the laws reinforces a misconception to the state and local communities on; Firstly, homosexuals are criminals. Secondly, sodomy is synonymous to homosexuality. Thirdly, a hierarchy that values heterosexuality over homosexuality.
Next, in the same Sharia Act, Section 28 criminalizes any male person who is in any public place, wears a woman’s attire and poses as a woman for immoral purposes.
Other than targeting a transgender group, the enforcement by the religious squad vested with a power to raid and arrest is frequently done in mala fide, not in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The victims are often humiliated, locked in a male prison, sexually harassed by the religious officers on duty and being judicially tried unjustly.
Clearly, Malaysia has to overhaul it’s neo-colonial and conservative system and prioritize humanity not power or money (very wishful thinking). To subjugate a group of society by a state because of their sexual orientation or gender expression in the borderless world we all breathe is absurd and democratically incorrect. Imagine your governors can charge you of what you did in the bedroom and with whom you naturally fall in love without even wanting to be in that hazardous situation. What is more in Islam, privacy and personal choice are the ultimate safeguard the state or anyone else should protect and should not transcend.

Social treatment and intersectional freedoms of sexuality and faith
This is the most important point, LGBTs in Malaysia and everywhere else in the world have to struggle with coming-out. It is very naive and moronic to say that the status quo is fine because the writer views oppression against LGBTs is not glaring or severe as in UgandaBangladesh and Saudi Arabia. Its like saying, I saw a kid on the street got beaten by a man, but I didn’t care then I kept walking. As I didn’t see any injury on his face and he was not my child anyway. (But what if that kid is your child?)
First, that does not justify the “un-severe” oppression. Second, the writer didn’t realize because closeted LGBTs don’t tell you what is their sexual orientation. Even so, through effeminate character and personal appearance, LGBT kids and adults face bully, cyber-bully, vilification, public-shaming, discrimination from more masculine, feminine or religious group comprised of their employers, peers, teachers, families, religious leaders and communities.
Meanwhile, people who came out face unimaginable obstacles. I would like to exhibit this by citing the anecdotes of Hazim Ismail and few other Malaysians who fled overseas. They were not just being courageous of revealing their sexuality also  publicly renounced Islam because of the trauma they experienced with the self-righteous Muslims and conclusion they reached based on the irreconciliation of their sexuality with faith.
They further conveyed that the society and peers weaned in the homophobic environment isolated them in school, university, workplace and mosques. The saddest part is, their own biological parents who were raised in the heteronormative upbringing disowned, imprisoned, tortured them in the name of folklore ofSodom and Gomorrah and “what will people say to me about my gay son”. Imams were consulted and given a permission to do some healing rituals on the “doomed bodies” and finally ordered them to repent.
I believe that more young people especially LGBT youth will emigrate from the country if this horrendous reaction of society is not catered prudently. The dilemma is this, a lot of Muslims think they have to exit religion because they are gay, therefore,  unacceptable in the eyes of mainstream society. Even that’s not the case, they just want to free themselves from the Islam-tag and responsibilities imposed by the religion and be themselves far away.
Here comes the role of progressive Muslims to counter the crux of creeping fundamentalism and extremism by a reform. A reform within Islam is urgently required particularly in the interpretive methodology of Quran and Prophetic traditions. I vow that punishments and false perception on LGBTs are echoed from those Islamic sources. It subsequently ties Muslims across the world to be beholden to the ideology for many decades unchallenged.
Orlando’s shooting should be a lesson to Malaysian Muslims. A closeted gay who was taught in “Islam” to hate himself and other LGBTs translated that into action. It is not surprising, hours after the incident went live, some of Malaysians on social media congratulated the shooter for redeeming what is right in Islam. This is like an accomplished mission of fundamentalist Muslims in spreading hate and violence.
A reform is not to make “Progressive” as a new sect in Islam but a cooling force to harmonize the existing progressive values in Islam with the human rights including LGBT rights. For instance, to accept and respect the diversity of sexuality and opinion and be compatible with science and human progression.

1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees
Let’s switch the discussion to the international law on refugees. The Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol defines a refugee as a person who,
“… owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion …” [1]
Notably, sexual minorities fall within the scope of ”particular social group” [2] and all human beings which include Malaysians have the right to seek asylum in another country in accordance with Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[3]

Must the prosecution come from the state actor?
Seemingly, the author in his article mentioned that to claim a “refugee” status, the prosecution or persecution must only derive from the state actors. I back to differ, cases asserting refugee status based on membership of a particular social group are rampant by claimants who face risks of harm at the hands of non- state actors, other example would be wives abused by their husbands.
Undoubtedly, there is no requirement that the persecutor be a state actor. What the claimants have to prove is the “causal link” where serious discriminatory or other offensive acts are committed by the local populace which is a prosecution, if they are knowingly tolerated by the authorities, or if the authorities refuse, or prove unable, to offer effective protection.[4]
In Malaysia, the authorities and national leaders do not just approve the intolerance, they also exacerbate the tension by uttering very demeaning remarks [5] [6]and deploying Daesh-kind-of moral police to the ground.

In Canada
The writer in the article also questioned on the grant of Canadian court of a refugee status to Hazim Ismail? Here is why ; In 1991, Canada became one of the first Western nations to grant refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation. In the landmark Supreme Court’s ruling, Canada v. Ward,[7] explicitly defined the parameters of the refugee convention the concept of ‘‘particular social group’’ to include sexual orientation within Canadian refugee law.

Burden of Proof and freedom of choice
As long as the claimants furnish the court with evidence to prove their LGBT status, the court will reasonably endorse the application. For instances through witness statements, photographs or other documentary evidence and in Ireland and the UK, medical reports and witness testimony may be used to support the applicant’s sexual orientation.[8] [9] In addition, Malaysian LGBT scenario should be construed disjunctively with other cultures, which indeed alarming. [10]
In conclusion, with all forms of domestic injustices aforementioned, a person’s fundamental rights under the international law shall never be encroached by the authoritarian governments. Other democratic governments’ efforts for humanity should be commended dearly. Malaysia should step up and champion human rights as portrayed by it’s neighboring country, Vietnam in decriminalizing LGBTs.
Lastly, fleeing LGBTs from Malaysia should have a choice to live where they want in the absence of fear. To LGBT Muslims, spread your wings up high because you can be yourself and be Muslim.

[1] Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Apr. 22, 1954, 189 U.N.T.S. 150, Art. 1A(2).
[2] UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR GuidanceNote on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 21 November 2008
[3] UDHR Article 14.1: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
[4] Guidelines on International Protection: “Membership of a particular social group” within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
[5] Joseph Patrick McCormick. August 20, 2015. “Malaysia will not protect LGBT people because of Islam”, http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/08/20/malaysia-will-not-protect-lgbt-people-because-of-islam-says-prime-minister/
[6] Shazwan Mustafa Kamal. September 11, 2015. “LGBT community will never have equal rights in Malaysia, tourism minister says”, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/lgbt-community-will-never-have-equal-rights-in-malaysia-tourism-minister-sa
[7] This Supreme Court ruling identified sexual orientation as an immutable (innate or unchangeable) per- sonal characteristic, therefore, declaring gay and lesbian refugee claimants as belonging to a ‘‘particular social group’’ (LaViolette 1997).
[8] Sabine Jansen and Thomas Spijkerboer, Fleeing Homophobia: Seeking Safety in Europe, COC NederlaNd & VU UNiVersity amsterdam 71 (2011), available athttp://www.rechten.vu.nl/nl/Images/Fleeing%20Homophobia%20report%20EN_ tcm22-232205. pdf [hereinafter Fleeing Homophobia].
[9] SW (lesbians—HJ and HT applied) Jamaica v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, CG [2011] UKUT 00251(IAC), United Kingdom: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), 24 June 2011, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/ refworld/ docid/4e0c3fae2.html [accessed 9 July 2011] [hereinafter SW Jamaica]
[10] Tonewall, No Going Back: Lesbian and Gay People and The Asylum Sytem, (2010) available at http://www.stonewall.org.uk/ what_we_do/research_and_policy/2874.asp [hereinafter no going back].

Monday, June 13, 2016

rest in power / orlando

Rest in power and in solidarity with the victims and their families.
Salam takziah dan solidariti buat keluarga mangsa dan sahabat handai

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


PETALING JAYA: Zainuri Kamaruddin, a former Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) leader known for several attempted murders and his involvement in armed bank robberies, has announced the Islamic State’s (IS) plan to “lead a charge” against Malaysia.
According to a report in The New Straits Times (NST), Zainuri said in a newly released IS propaganda video that he and his men were part of a “righteous army”, and said that the Malay archipelago would someday be swarming with an army of IS fighters who would bring the fight home, particularly to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Zainuri, 49, leads the Malay-speaking IS arm Katibah Nusantara, and are currently fighting in Syria under the IS banner.
The IS has declared Malaysia and its people as “taghut” (“sinners” or those against the teachings of Allah) and must be fought, Zainuri said in the video.
Federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police were monitoring IS sympathisers in the country, especially Zainuri, who once served time for possession of firearms and explosives.
Zainuri left the country in April 2014 to join IS in Syria, and escaped an ambush by the Syrian army in August with only injuries to the neck and thigh. His comrade, Zainan Harith, 52, also a former KMM member, was killed.
“To this group (IS), basically everyone in the country, save for their supporters, be it our religious scholars or leaders, those with parties with Islam as their pillar, are all sinners who must be fought at all costs,” Zainuri said in the video.
Ayob Khan said that counter-terrorism operatives knew exactly who was now in Syria, and were therefore preparing for the worst as IS’s influence in the region was growing stronger.
“The increasing trend in statistics involving IS in the region is an indication of the increasing strength in their footing in the region,” he said.
“Our guard is up…there is the northern border that is so vast, the influence from IS alliances in southern Philippines and possible lone-wolf attacks.”
There were three other Malaysians in the 16-minute video – Muhammad Nashrullah Abd Latif, 24, from Grik, Perak; Sazrizal Mohd Sofian, 26, from Seri Kembangan, Selangor, and Abd Khalid Dari, 54, from Sik, Kedah.
“At this point in time, we are comforted in knowing that many IS supporters here do not have the technical and practical know-how in planning and staging terror attacks,” Ayob said, according to NST.
Ayob said one particular area of expertise the members lacked was bomb-making, and that they had not been able to practice their rudimentary skills gleaned from the Internet.

“We have reason to believe that they could be picking up this skill from those across the border. IS supporters here are trying to establish contact with IS elements from areas like southern Philippines,” the daily quoted Ayob as saying.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

arbitary arrests by religious departments

photo/image credit: Justice for sisters

All states can opt to implement stricter Syariah court punishments if the so called 'hudud bill' is passed said, PAS ulama chief Mahfodz Mohamed said."If (amendments to) Act 355 (Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act) are passed, it's not just for Kelantan.

Friday, June 03, 2016


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 59 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
Kuala Lumpur

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 psychologicalanthropological 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.
Buddhism – Two 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 mukhannathunwere 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.

Dismantle ‘crazy’ transgender panel, says Muslim NGO

GEORGE TOWN: Dismantle the “crazy” (“gila”) transgender committee for fighting LGBT rights, a Muslim non-governmental organisation told the Penang Government today.
Jaringan Muslimin Pulau Pinang chief Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin said the committee was against Islamic canon law (hukum syarak) and had insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as the leader of Islam.
“We would like the Penang DAP government to dissolve the committee if it respects the federal and state Constitution.
“Both the constitutions clearly state that Islam is the religion of the federation and also the state,” the former Penang PAS Youth chief said in a statement today.
Penang’s maverick DAP representative Teh Yee Cheu recently formed an unofficial transgender committee to oversee their welfare and employment issues last month.
He had said the committee, backed by eight assemblymen, was not part of the government nor the state Legislative Assembly.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the committee was never endorsed by the state government, but a private initiative by an assemblyman.
Nordin urged the populace to stand up and fight the Penang Government to ensure the sanctity of Islam was not further eroded.
“Any attempts to ‘halalkan’ (legalise) transgender activities in this country are against Islam and the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

PAS wants to get close to LGBT community to ‘save their souls’

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/06/01/pas-wants-to-get-close-to-lgbt-community-to-save-their-souls/PASIR PUTEH: PAS wants to get close to those in the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community with the aim of “saving their souls.”
Dewan Ulamak chief Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamad(pic) called on party members “to bring back those who had gone astray by such lifestyle.”
“We need get close to them so that they will be with PAS.
“This will allow us to give them a better understanding of Islam which will help to save their lives now and in the afterlife," Dr Mahfodz said when opening the 55th Dewan Ulamak Assembly here.

He said this was necessary as there have been recent moves by several groups promoting LGBT in the country.
He lashed out at the Penang state government for recently recognising LGBTs.
“Penang is the first state in the country to recognise LGBTs after setting up the Penang Transgender Committee which held its first meeting on May 17," he said.
Dr Mahfodz warned members to be wary of groups that have been using the excuse of human rights to promote LGBT.
He said the LGBT lifestyle would further erode the faith of the Muslims if left unchecked.
On a separate matter, Dr Mahfodz said PAS rejects any attempt to unseat the Prime Minister as it would not achieve the goal of bringing institutional changes to the country.
“We reject the idea of changing the Prime Minister if it means only replacing him with someone else from Umno,” he added.
He added that PAS would adopt a pragmatic approach when dealing with problems faced by the people rather than blindly criticising the Government.