Magazine article New Internationalist

Transgender Challenge

Magazine article New Internationalist

Transgender Challenge

Article excerpt

Shortly after midnight on 9 June, officials from the Islamic Religious Department in the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan raided a wedding party in the yard of a private home, arresting 17 guests, including the wedding planners. They choked one guest and kicked her to the ground, and tore another guest's clothing. Later that day, a state Sharia court sentenced the wedding guests to seven days in prison and a fine.

Their 'crime'? Dressing in women's clothing.

These guests were transgender women, arrested under a state Sharia law that criminalizes 'a man posing as a woman'. Malaysia presents itself on the international stage as a 'moderate Muslim' country. But legislation catering to extremist views has made life increasingly difficult for transgender people, who are frequently arrested simply for being who they are. …

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