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23 Dec 2009

Malaysian transsexual faces deportation for overstaying in Britain

The New Straits Times's Audrey Vijaindren asks if Malaysian society lacks compassion and kindness towards transgenders as the media reports on Fatine Young, a Malaysian transsexual who faces deportation (and possibly jail) to Malaysia for overstaying in Britain with her husband.

The following is an extract from The New Straits Times (Malaysia). Click on the link below for the full story.

Fatine Young, Malaysian transsexual who is married to a Briton, 
faces deportation to Malaysia because immigration procedures 
were not followed. Fatine's first leave-to-remain-visa was refused 
in September, on the grounds of an incorrect passport photo. 
Her second bid was rejected as it was received after the visitor's 
visa had expired. Read more in The Star and The Malay Mail.

Since the media went to town with Fatine Young's immigration dilemma, questions have arisen on whether our society lacks compassion and kindness when it comes to transgenders. AUDREY VIJAINDREN speaks to experts and religious leaders who believe it's time Malaysians vacate the judgement seat and adopt a more sympathetic approach.

Rude whistling from passing cars, derogatory name-calling and warding off items that are hurled in their direction are only some of the many things Malaysian transgenders have had to live with for years.

The story of transsexual Fatine Young, 36, who married a British man and is about to be deported to Malaysia for overstaying, is yet another plight of a transgender.

But as the world evolves and society advances, is it time we got off our high horses and started acting more humane? Whether their courage and lifestyle is right or wrong, admirable or sinful, do transgenders deserve less respect and dignity than anyone else?

PT acting executive director and Pink Triangle programme director, Raymond Tai, believes there is much misunderstanding and ignorance among many Malaysians regarding transgenders. 

"There is so much misconception on what it means to be a transgender, transsexual, transvestite or gay. Because people do not understand what each term means, there is confusion and a tendency to make moral judgments.

"Transgender is the third gender and is often for life. A transvestite on the other hand is just a fetish to cross dress occasionally. Transsexual is a subset of a transgender, and often implies those who are on some form of hormone treatment, have done plastic surgery or sexual reassignment.

"Those of us who have a relative or friend who is a transgender will find that they are no different from mainstream society and that their 'transgender being' is just part of their whole identity."

Tai says the general perception of transgenders is that they lead an immoral life.

"Because most Malaysians' main contact with transsexuals are those they see on the street doing sex work or in performances, their impression of a transsexual is based on what they read in the media.

"Unfortunately, most local media portray transsexuals in a negative light, stereotyped as dishonest sex workers who steal and con their clients, and are irresponsible and irreverent."

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-12-23 17:49  
those who have worked with a transgender before would agree that they (transgenders) work harder and more meticulous.
2. 2009-12-23 20:40  
I am quite shocked to read this because I actually met Fatine online earlier this year, she told me that she was 28 years old and wanted to come to Australia to live with me. Then suddenly when I found out that she had lied to me about her age she took up a job i the UK. I am sure hr marriage is just one of convenience. She told me that she wanted to live outside o Malaysia. I hope that she is duly returned to Malaysia.
If any press wish to ow more of my experiences with her I would gladly tell hem all I now.
3. 2009-12-23 21:32  

:O oh,god,#2 gave a very shocking comment too :)
4. 2009-12-23 21:46  
Dear Zyntra,

Do you have compassion? What are the benefits you would get to tell the world about her private life? Whatever happened between both of you should be kept privately. She / he suffers enough in her situation. Do not judge on her marriage whether it was true or one of convenience. Do you know she/he will be jailed due to having homosexual activities that she has with any man base on Malaysian law? Leave her alone for compassion. She / He does not need your publicity or stories to make her worst when she/he finally returns back. I am Canadian, you are Austalia, Do you have privacy law in Australia? Be careful she/he may sue you for any damages that you may cause her/him. Be Compassion !
5. 2009-12-24 04:06  
living a life that she had/has, its totally understandable the aching needs to live in the west, but having said that, there is also a clear difference between an economic immigrant and social immigrant. what she has here is a bit of a grey area because in a way, she can be considered as a social refugee from a homophobic country, but if mr post number 2 really want to do some damages to her PR, then she would be no different from any of those guys having multiple sugar daddies at the same time while they attending their 'sick family member' in the hospital. but could imagine she must have endured a lot of insults and mental breakdown for being who she is in all her life.
6. 2009-12-24 09:49  
She used the name Fatin Marrisa and worked as a make-up artist. She had profiles on a few transgender sites seeking a husband. I chatted to her line and spoke to her by phone many times. Apart from lying to me about her age there were a few other strange things. From my knowledge of her I am very confident that her marriage in the UK was purely a marriage of convenience to allow her to live outside of Malaysia as she had mentioned that many times to me. If justice is done she will be returned to Malaysia and banned from future entry to the UK. I have no sympathy for people who are dishonest or who are not genuine immigrants. As I said I am quite prepared to talk to any authorities or the press about my knowledge of her. Post Number 4, I can not be sued for providing the facts and transcripts of communication.
7. 2009-12-24 11:15  
I'm apalled that even in our own LBGT community so much prejudice, anger, resentment and marginilisation exist. The private affairs and details, of Fatine's life should remain private, unless SHE comes forth with them herself. Anyone who's ego or pride have been damaged by her attempts to live in a free country, in a loving relationship should just back off.
Aside from legal documents, is "lying" about one's age a crime? (women are infamous for shaving years off their true ages).
Is agressively seeking a husband a crime?
Is agressively seeking asylumn in a friendly country a crime?
She deserves compassion, empathy, guidance and support from a good lawyer (pro bono) to walk her through her next steps to help her reach her goals.
8. 2009-12-24 17:42  
Just hope She can live with the one she loves no matter where she is. Best luck to her. She, in my eyes, is just a woman in trouble.
9. 2009-12-24 17:44  
Zyntra, by all means and for the justice of UK immigration authority, you have my moral support to report this light soul (as in heart NOT in choice of gender) who has cheated. Yes, I use the word "cheat" because clearly this case, the way I see it, is not very different from the case I personally know of a Malaysian who recently co-operated with a Malaysia-migrated British citizen and cheated on British Embassy Malaysia to get married in Leeds! Pretty convenient to live outside of Malaysia these days, huh? Spare no mercy on cheaters and stop the law being abused and walked all over.
Comment #10 was deleted by its author on 2009-12-24 19:10
11. 2009-12-24 19:11  
This report prompts me to think about the broader issues facing the LGBT community.

First, let's ask ourselves: Would Young be wrong IF she had really cheated foreigners to marry her in order to gain foreign residency/citizenship?

Certainly, she would be wrong to cheat. It's selfish of anyone to hurt the feelings of others in order to get what he wants. Her victims would be heartbroken to discover later that they had been betrayed.

Do such cheaters have my sympathy? Yes. Though they cheat, I can understand why they had to in the first place. Their countries are not tolerant of them. They can't find a job. Their family and relatives shun them. What do you expect them to do in such a hostile environment. As reported in the article, they do make an effort to find a job. They do wish to exchange their hard work for a salary in a honest way. But does their society give them an opportunity?

So, while such cheaters are wrong, the blame can't be entirely put on them. The society is partially responsible for their dishonesty.

Gays and lesbians in many countries have become more fortunate. The society had been much more discriminative. Today, though the society in, say, Singapore, has become more tolerant of gays and lesbians. You generally do not worry much about letting your young friends (e.g. born after 1970) know that you are gay. This was not the case decades ago. In the LGBT community, transgenders are the smallest, most discriminated, and least understood group. The hostility they feel is much worse that what gays decades ago here did. The Malaysian society should be even more hostile than the Singapore society is to them. Put yourselves in their shoes. What would you (the majority of Fridae members) do if you were born in Uganda (where a Bill to execute gays is being considered in the Parliament) and there is a ray of hope for you to flee the country by faking a marriage with a European that qualifies you for emigration to Europe?

I had described the difficult situation that transgenders are in, the problem. Next, let me talk about the solution. The solution is to create a viable alternative to cheating. We know that we can't change the discriminative environment in these countries overnight. So, the only way to help the transgenders is to offer them a way to leave their countries if they so wish. Otherwise what do we expect them to do? Their family and relatives shun them. They can't find a job. Can they survive there? So, we must empower them with the freedom to live a better life elsewhere. So, the next question is, beside faking marriage, is there any other option?

The answer is 'yes'. They may qualify as refugee if they satisfy the eligibility requirements. But why should they if they have the ability to offer marketable skills? So, migration as refugees should be the last resort. We should empower them with a Educate the LGBT project. I had earlier suggested that we should, beside working on the gay parties, gay prides and HIV campaigns, work on areas like:
1) IT literacy
2) Education (e.g. GCSE, degree, vocational qualifications)
3) English proficiency.....
If we can educate more LGBT, the community can generally become more mobile. More will have the choice to stay in their own country or emigrate to pursue a better life. More will understand about the challenges that face the community, and that they must fight for their own rights.

This is generally true. But, particularly for transgenders, we have another challenge, which is to prepare them for jobs in those cities and companies that are me willing to accept them. It's meaningless to argue whether it's right or wrong for employers or the society to discriminate against them. It is wrong, but in reality it happens, and we can't change them overnight. So the more important issue is to face the reality, and to help the transgenders find places and jobs where they may head to. Many, or most of us, may not be doing what we most like to do. My present job isn't my first choice. But to survive we need to acquire a set of marketable skills and earn an income with it. We may not be able to choose the most loved job, nor do we need to force ourselves to do the most disliked job. We can choose something that falls between these 2 extremes. Of course, if you have a choice to do what you like most to do, I am happy for you.

For example, make-up artistry, hairdressing, beauty, cooking, music, massage, fashion design, interior design, etc. jobs in especially cities like San Francisco, Sydney, London, Paris, etc. would be possible. Transgenders who are already working in more tolerant sectors in the more tolerant cities might advise their fellow sisters who are still suffering in the more repressive countries.
12. 2009-12-25 08:51  
I kinda agree with Zyntra. As a transgender myself, I understand the plight of my own sisters and her current situation. However, I've seen waaaaaayyyyy too much Asian Transgendered gold diggers just waiting to marry white men for convenience sake or to whisked them out of their poverty life. That just makes men in general very hard to trust people like us, and as it is, society already is unkind towards transgendered women.

Yes, be compassionate. However one must also think that her current plight, may be due to her own karma of cheating, manipulative, behavior, toying with people's heart. Are we to sympathise with her but then, not sympathise with Zyntra for his broken heart? Just because he is a Man? A double standard isn't it?

This is not just about Zyntra, but MANY others who have been manipulated by people like Fatine (I know a few people like that). Like I said, as a transgendered women myself, I stand up for my sisters, not all of us are manipulative like that but sadly, some of us do. It's just like another social stigma of Sex worker, sadly.
13. 2009-12-25 19:26  
Pretty subjective matter i thought. I am quite full of empathy for Ms Fatine. But well, for most part, life is not a bed of roses and nothing much is quite that smooth-sailing. However, i feel that whatever happened (online) between you (Zyntra) and Ms Fatine should be strictly between the two of you! Don't wash your dirty laundry in public! Whether this marriage between her and that Briton gentleman is a "marriage of convenience" or "marriage of love"... well, they know best and who are we to judge anyway let alone to make sweeping statements!

Hope everything would turn out right for you Fatine - Best Wishes for 2010 - Be Positive... Ciao :)
14. 2010-07-26 02:48  
what you gonna do if it is you ? everyone trying the best for their life.dont you think so ....
15. 2010-07-26 02:50  
just remember what you do what you get.
16. 2011-07-22 17:05  
No 6 could be a pervert or abuser ..He may never have had contact with this woman and if he did maybe he insulted or abused her which would be a good reason to reject hi.. Look at him ? Would you see an abuser ? Judge why someone would attack this girl...

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