Transgenders meet mufti to end discrimination against them

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PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental organisation (NGO) met Federal Territory mufti Zulkifli Mohammad in an effort to help promote understanding and end discrimination against the transgender community.

Pertubuhan Kesihatan dan Kebajikan Malaysia (PKKUM) said the discussion between transgender activists and the Federal Territory Mufti’s Office yesterday had strengthened ties between the transgender community and religious authorities.

The discussion came after Zulkifli expressed interest in helping them.

The founder of PKKUM, Elisha Kor Krishnan, said the meeting discussed the need to encourage interpretation of the Quran and Hadith to create greater awareness among the general populace on transgender issues.

“PKKUM is working on erasing stigma and discrimination against transgender persons,” said Elisha, who is also a transgender rights activist.

Elisha said the National Fatwa Committee’s stance against sex-change operations back in 1982 had caused the transgender community to be unable to solve its identity crisis.

“The fatwa doesn’t only influence Muslim individuals, but also non-Muslim transgenders.”

Zulkifli is one of a few top religious officials who have made an effort to approach the transgender community.

Last December, he personally met transgender persons around Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur.

In June last year, he met with Ikhlas Malaysia, which works with the transgender community, drug addicts, sex workers and ex-convicts.

In a tweet, Zulkifli said he was “touched by the enthusiasm PKKUM showed in attending” the discussion and was grateful for their attendance.

Elisha told FMT that PKKUM was planning to form a support group to help transgenders access basic necessities to prevent them from having to choose to leave Islam and the country just to receive protection.

“With professional help from both medical professionals and religious authorities, we will be able to give them a way to end the stigma and discrimination they face,” he said.