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4 May 2010

Malaysian transsexual given refugee status in Australia

In what has been described a "rare" case, Malaysia's New Straits Times reported that a 38-year-old Malaysian transsexual was recently given refugee status in Australia as only 12 transsexuals were given asylum in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada between 1994 and 2008.

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

A 38-year-old Malaysian transsexual was recently given refugee status in Australia.

Born male, she had undergone a sex-change operation in Thailand.

She went to Australia last year on a tourist visa and worked illegally as a fruit-picker.

However, she claimed refugee status after being apprehended by Australian immigration authorities.

"In Malaysia, I do not count as a person," she told tribunal member Rosa Gagliardi when her case was heard in February.

"I am not considered to be a woman because my identity card says that I am a man."

Her statement was enough to convince Gagliardi that Australia owed her protection obligations under the Refugees Convention.

It is rare that transsexuals are given refugee status.

Transsexualism is recognised as a valid medical condition under Gender Identity Disorders within the International Classification Of Diseases (ICD-10) by the World Health Organisation.

Between 1994 and 2008, only 12 transsexuals were given asylum in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The Australian case has dismayed, but not surprised lawyers and academics. 

Lawyer Simran Gill said it was alarming that a Malaysian citizen had won refugee status, considering how high the standards required for it was. 

She said applicants for refugee status needed to show a "well-founded" fear of persecution. 

"For a Malaysian citizen to be granted refugee status implies that the international community perceives Malaysia's human rights violations to be as gross as countries such as Myanmar and Afghanistan." 

She added that people do not often get refugee status on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Reader's Comments

1. 2010-05-04 23:47  
Glad to be Australian. :)
2. 2010-05-05 01:59  
"For a Malaysian citizen to be granted refugee status implies that the international community perceives Malaysia's human rights violations to be as gross as countries such as Myanmar and Afghanistan."

I could not have put it better myself.

So good to show the world how inclusive, compassionate and accepting a civilised country can be. I hope this new citizen will flourish and become a rich member of Australian society free from persecution for being who she is.
3. 2010-05-05 04:18  
Note that this is an extract of a Malaysian newspaper, not an Australian newspaper.
4. 2010-05-05 19:55  
As a Malaysian, I say Hear ye, the government-backed newspaper surprisingly did not try to cover up or whitewash the truth this time. The threat of persecution for Malaysian LGBT community, especially the transsexuals who are Malay and Muslim, is in fact more serious than perceived. I am glad that this particular person won asylum in Australia. Now that there is a precedent. I wonder if there will be a sudden influx of transsexuals to Australia seeking asylum...
5. 2010-05-06 14:39  
I am genuinely happy for her.
6. 2010-05-07 06:13  
Welcome to Australia, who ever she is. There has been no mention of this in Australian papers, as far as I know, otherwise the proverbial shit would hit the fan, I'm sure. The right wingers would have a field day.
7. 2011-04-05 08:30  
yes first I heard of it too, fred vile and his christian jihadists and the equally loopy lib leader tiny (seen it in budgies) yabbott (yabbering idiot) would be throwing them selves into a real tizzy had they gotten wind of it, every ones too preoccupied with taxes, taxes and even more carbon taxes, that poor Tranny will have to hurry up get a job and pay TAXES
Comment edited on 2011-04-05 08:32:09

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