NGO Remembers Slain Malaysian Trans Women

There is an increasing trend of murders of Malaysian trans women, says Justice for Sisters.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — A trans rights group urged the government to tackle increasing discrimination and violence against the Malaysian transgender community.

Justice for Sisters pointed out that at least four murders of trans women were reported between November 2018 and October 2019.

“We call the government to engage transgender human rights groups, address the escalating hateful speech against trans and gender diverse persons, train and raise awareness regarding transgender persons and gender identities among all government staff using rights and evidence-based approach, and take meaningful measures to end all forms of discrimination against trans people,” the organisation said in a statement commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) yesterday.

“In Malaysia, at least four cases of murder of trans women were reported between November 2018 and October 2019.

“Between 2017 and 2019 alone, at least nine cases of murders have been reported. This makes up 47 per cent of the total 19 cases that have been recorded between 2007 and October 2019 (13 years),” the group added.

The group further said that the increasing violence against the community also correlates with the increasing transphobia and discrimination against trans people in Malaysia, which remains unaddressed.

“This is further exacerbated by discriminatory laws, policies and state-funded programmes that reinforce exclusion, misinformation and impunity in relation to violence and discrimination against trans people.

“Case in point, a recent media report on Astro Awani of a murder of a gay man in the United States. Online users, among others, applauded the perpetrator of killing the gay man, some going as far as to encourage similar acts of violence against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons in Malaysia,” said Justice for Sisters.

Moreover, the group also highlighted a number of trend and issues faced by the transgender community in Malaysia.

They alleged that the police are quick to dismiss the element of hate crime in these cases despite the brutal violence experienced by the victim.

“The lack of gender-sensitive and a rights-based approach in analysing the crimes does not allow the police and the government to understand the trend of violence and increased vulnerability experienced by trans people, and design adequate and meaningful response to address violence against trans people.”

Speaking on victim blaming, the group added that perpetrators often accused victims of soliciting sex, theft or other reasons that reinforce prejudice towards trans women, resulting in a lack of justice for these women.

“Family members can be a barrier in seeking justice for the murdered trans women. In some cases, family members do not wish to seek justice due to the stigma towards trans people.”

The organisation also demanded that the media give continuous attention on these cases and not only limit coverage to the initial reporting of the murder.

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