PUTRAJAYA: Fresh from allegations of discriminations against the LGBT community, Mujahid Yusof Rawa today spoke out in defence of the transgender group, saying the government would fight stereotypes against them in public places.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said there were cases where doctors would refuse to touch them during health checks.
“The doctor would use a pen to check on them. This is discrimination,” he said after meeting transgender activist Nisha Ayub at his office today.
Other types of discrimination faced by transgenders, said Mujahid, included the use of public toilets.
“Does it bother you, if she (Nisha) goes to the female toilet because she looks like a female?” he asked.
Mujahid said he would mediate between various ministries, including Islamic agencies, to create awareness on the plight of the LGBT community.
“Transgender is a reality we cannot avoid. Give them justice. They did not ask for same-sex marriage. They just want to be treated with respect and dignity,” he said.
His comments come days after he ordered organisers of an exhibition at the George Town Festival to remove portraits of Nisha and another activist linked to the LGBT community, Pang Khee Teik.
The move drew criticism from rights groups, who said Mujahid was discriminating against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
Following his meeting with Nisha today, Mujahid defended his action, saying it was to protect the LGBT community from being harassed.
He said transgenders faced difficulties to integrate with society, and many were forced to become prostitutes after facing discrimination in the job market.
He described the transgender community as among “the most discriminated”, adding that they include Muslim members of the community who were stopped from going to mosques.
He said the government would help them to be financially independent.
Meanwhile, Nisha urged LGBT groups to come forward to meet Mujahid to raise issues faced by them.
She said the previous government was not forthcoming in helping them.
“But this time, the minister wanted a press conference. He wants to stop hate crime.”