KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – Malaysian transgender activist Nisha Ayub has been named in the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for this year.
Nisha co-founded SEED — the country’s first ever trans-led community-based organisation — and set up T-Home, which addresses the issue of homelessness for older trans women who are left without family support.
“Trans people are just as human as everyone. We cry in tears, we bleed red, we have dreams and hopes, we want to be loved and cared for, we have feelings and emotions as we are your own reflection,” Nisha said to British broadcaster BBC.
“We are not asking for special rights but the same equal rights as others — to be treated with dignity and respect as a Human Being. Trans life matters,” added the trans woman.
In 2016, Nisha — who was sentenced to three months’ jail in a male prison under a Shariah law that prohibits men from wearing women’s attire — received the US International Women of Courage award for her work.
In August this year, Marie Claire Malaysia listed Nisha, who plans to open a clinic with trans-specific health services, among 25 women in Malaysia who “undeniably owned” 2019 in the magazine’s list of “Marie Claire Amazing Women 2019”.
Nisha told CodeBlue that she plans to open the clinic with transgender health services within Seed’s drop-in centre in Chow Kit here, a poor vicinity in the city centre, which requires renovation that Seed is hoping to get sponsorship for.
Besides general health care for minor ailments like the flu, the clinic will also offer transgenders hormone replacement therapy (HRT), either estrogen or testosterone; counselling; as well as free tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Nisha is listed by the BBC alongside various distinguished names around the world like US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and UK athlete Dina Asher-Smith.
The list celebrates 100 women throughout the world who have made an impact to the community in 2019.
“From the architect planning to rebuild her destroyed city in Syria, to Nasa’s project manager of the Mars helicopter, many on the list are at the cutting edge of their fields. They give us their vision of what life will look like in 2030,” BBC said.
“Others, such as the ‘ghost’ politician defying the mafia, and the footballer battling misogyny, are using their extraordinary personal experiences to blaze a path for those who follow.”