Stop the assaults on transgender community, say Hannah Yeoh, lawyer

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.

PETALING JAYA: Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and lawyer Syahredzan Johan have called for an immediate halt to the verbal and physical assaults on the transgender community, following reports of a transgender woman who was attacked by a group of men in Negeri Sembilan last week.

Syahredzan Johan.

In a joint statement, they said they had visited the victim at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban where they learned that she had suffered internal injuries, several broken ribs and injuries to her back and head which required 12 stitches.

“This is not an isolated incident,” they said. “The transgender community has long been the target of assault and harassment throughout the country.”

In some cases, they said, the attacks had resulted in serious injuries and even death.

They said most of the time, the perpetrators were not brought to justice, either due to the fear of repercussions on the part of the victims, or because the authorities were reluctant to take further action.

“We believe that the wanton disregard for the lives of the transgender community is the result of the constant demonisation of the community by certain quarters.

“The hate speeches directed at the transgender community reduce their humanity in the eyes of society and has made it easier for them to be targeted.

“The physical and verbal assaults suffered by transgender community must be stopped. They are gross violations of the human rights of members of the transgender community, who should also enjoy the same fundamental liberties as any other citizen of this country,” they said.

The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy supported the call for urgent action to address the “demonisation” of the transgender community, saying it had resulted in the perpetrators going unpunished and transgender persons living in fear.

Azrul Mohd Khalib

Galen chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib said everyone was equally entitled to the rights and protection provided for under Malaysian law.

“That includes being able to walk about without having to fear being beaten up or being subjected to physical and mental harm.

“There is no justification for such violence on another human being,” he said in a statement today.

He warned that discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status could discourage people from seeking treatment and care, adding that those who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) could have trouble finding alternative healthcare services if they were turned away.

“Sexual minorities, transgender persons in particular, face tremendous discrimination and social stigma which complicate and obstruct their ability to access and be covered for healthcare and treatment needs.

“Discrimination and social stigmatisation will result in increased incidences of mistreatment, harassment, or being denied service outright,” he said.