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‘Transgenders not challenging Islam’

 | July 18, 2014

A lawyer says transgenders are not challenging Islam but instead are challenging the legislative laws that discriminate them

pondanPUTRAJAYA: A state legal advisor told the Court of Appeal that transgenders with GID (Gender Identity Disorder) are mentally unsound or “akal yang tidak sempurna”.

They are suffering from mental disorder and therefore are curable, said Negeri Sembilan state legal adviser Iskandar Ali Dewa.

He also told the court yesterday that since this is the case, Section 66 of the Syariah Law which states that a man cannot dress or pose as a woman, is applicable to them.

“They can be cured simply by dressing as a man again,” said Iskandar.

A medical report from the Ministry of Health however cites GID as incurable and life long.

The Court of Appeal is hearing a case where three transgenders are challenging the unconstitutionality of the Negeri Sembilan state Syariah law which prohibits them from expressing their gender identity.

Their lawyer Aston Paiva also showed the court proof that the Health Ministry signed off the medical reports of the transgenders citing that their disorder is incurable.

“According to psychiatrists ¬†from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the patients suffering from GID, although born biologically male, are actually female trapped in a man’s body,” stressed Paiva.

Paiva also added that his clients “are in no way challenging Islam but instead are challenging the legislative laws that discriminate them.”

Justice Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus, who chaired the three-man panel hearing the appeal asked Iskandar several times if he believes GIDs are mentally unsound, and his reply was “yes.”

Iskandar equated GIDs as people suffering from depression and reasoned that since it is grouped as a mental disorder, thus it is curable.

Similarly, Judge Hishamuddin who sits on the panel, was disturbed to hear that repeated persecution of the  community is actively happening while the case is ongoing and the court has yet to decide on the appeal.

This was in reference to the 15 transgender women who were arrested at a Malay wedding and taken into custody by religious officials in a raid in Bahau on June 8.

“I am disturbed by this and advise the state to stop this action pending the disposal of this appeal,” said Hishamuddin.

Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Act 1992, which makes it an offence for men to cross-dress, provides for a punishment of up to six months in prison, a fine of up to RM1,000, or both, upon conviction.

Judgement has been set for Nov 7.


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