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Transgenders shunned by employers become sex workers

 | September 23, 2017

Seed Foundation activist Nisha Ayub says local employers often refuse transgenders work on account of their appearance.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Seed Foundation, a body dedicated to the welfare of transgender people, is concerned that 50% to 60% of transsexual women in the country have resorted to working in the sex industry after failing to gain decent employment elsewhere.

Its activist Nisha Ayub, said most employers, including factory operators, refused them employment on account of their appearance.

She said this has led to many transgenders resorting to becoming sex workers to earn a living, with some starting as early as 17 or 18 years old.

She said this also left them susceptible to sexual violence by the very customers they serviced.

“Sometimes boys have pee-ed in plastic bags and thrown these at the sex workers,” she said at a talk on ending gender-based violence, organised by Justice for Sisters at Kampung Attap here.

She said transgenders also suffered untold hardship during their education years, whether at primary school or at university apart from the constant degrading comments they endured from family members, relatives and society in general.

“We suffer from the time we are young to the day we die,” she said.

“As soon as we come out of our homes, men will give us their numbers or want our contact numbers for sex services,” she added, stressing that such experiences made it difficult for them to lead a decent life.

Nisha also said the incidents of “transphobia” had increased over the years as more transgenders than ever were being physically abused.

She said the cases were not reported “as many feel the police will not take action”. She also said there were reported cases of murder.

In February, transgender Sameera Krishnan was found murdered from a gunshot and her body mutilated in Kuantan.

Nisha blamed the prevalence of transphobia on the authorities, saying notices such as those describing LGBT people as violating shariah laws, were contributing to the problem.

She also said a survey on gender violence initiated through the Facebook page “Malaysian Transwomen” had in a single day received responses from 350 individuals, who said they had been bullied in some form or another.

“That is just within a day,” she said. “This should not happen. People should respect and accept us.”

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