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21 May 2013

Transgender awareness campaign launched in Malaysia (Video)

Activists in Malaysia have today launched the first transgender awareness public service announcement video of its kind on Youtube.

Titled "I Am You: I Am A Picture Of You", the one-minute 40-second video features 11 transgender men and women reading a poem by Mitch Yusof, a Malaysian trans activist.

The campaign organisers say on their website: "As more and more misinformation and hatred are propagated regarding the trans* community, we feel that it is important to correct these information in hopes to foster understanding and promote tolerance and acceptance in this society towards trans people. This educational campaign is specifically designed to raise awareness regarding the trans community and subsequently bridge the gap between the trans* community and the society."

Justice for Sisters is a grassroots campaign organised by concerned members of the public to raise public awareness about issues surrounding violence and persecution against the Mak Nyah (transgender) community in Malaysia. The campaign also aims to raise funds to finance court cases that have been brought up against transgenders who have been charged in Syariah court, says the campaign website.

Currently, the Syariah Criminal Enactment bars Muslim men from dressing or behaving as women which prevents transgender Muslim women from transitioning legally or changing their names.

Last year, at least 13 transgender women were attacked over a six-month period in Kuantan, Pahang, according to a local media report.


From I Am You: Be A Trans Ally:

19 ways to be a trans ally!

1. Call people by their preferred name, pronouns, and label. If you’re unsure, ASK! It's about respect. Politely correct others if they use the wrong pronoun.

2. Do your own research. Knowledge is power!

3. Don’t tell jokes that that might offend trans individuals or allow others to do so.

4. Make sure to show your support for your trans* friends by confronting transphobia when you see it. Transphobia is equally oppressive as (and works in conjunction with) sexism, homophobia, racism, classism, etc.

5. Reach out and offer support to trans* individuals who are being discriminated or need an ear

6. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN! Open up spaces and provide platforms for trans* individuals to voice out their views!!

7. Participate in trans* related events (like this one!)

8. Actively question gender discriminatory legislation.

9. challenge societal perceptions of gender expressions and identity.

10. Demand or showcase positive and empowering trans* role models in the media.

11. Recognize that trans* individuals deal with sexism and misogyny in a very real way on top of transphobia.

12. Recognize that trans* individuals deserve access to their own prefered gender-specific spaces/programs/shelters/medical facilities/etc.

13. Love your child, Do not throw them out of their home just because they are different.

14. Talk about trans issues and rights. Engage people in discussions & share your knowledge. The majority of “information” people have about trans* issues is based on false stereotypes & assumptions.

15. Be aware of the vital role you play as a cisgender person. Always remember that people may be more likely to listen to & take cues from non-trans people than from transpeople. What you say & do matters!

16. Celebrate trans lives & work at making trans & genderqueer issues more visible on a day-to-day basis.

17. Hire transpeople.

18. Demand or provide healthcare insurance and services that are trans-inclusive. Our transitioning is not a optional cosmetic procedure.

19. Like and share our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/iamyou.campaign

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-05-21 22:47  
Malaysia shld emphasize on equal rights to everybody irregardless for who they r.. Majority wld nt accept as it is a Muslim country, but do 'they' choose to b 'special'...?
2. 2013-05-21 23:56  
Wo...this is great! One small step for the transgender community, one giant step for Malaysia. Hats off to you guys and girls!
Comment #3 was deleted by its author on 2013-05-23 10:26
4. 2013-05-22 23:26  
Best wishes and hope to you all. Malaysia is not well known in it's government to be forward thinking, or being very intellectual at all. I noticed in the last election how backward the Prime Minister, or head thief was, and amazingly how backward his wife was.

I understand that many of the women in that government need their own train cars, to feel safe from the men who are favored by the government. Let's be honest, who would touch women looking like those who are favored by the government?

While the corrupt Prime Minister and his frighteningly money holding ugly cow of a wife (these are the scary looking women who need those cars by the way) try to steal and destroy all that is good in that beautiful country.

Maybe this is harsh, but I find it true.

Kindness, good work, and forward thinking will come in time. But it is a battle that will go on by those who are brave and courageous. Such things as what we have here. To challenge the corrupt government and to show that there can be more women and men then those they see in their tiny prism of sight. Your small flame of protest will be a beacon of hope to the world.

This will come to pass in time, but ergo, we understandably see it will take time. Time is what you have my friends, and what that government does not.


The words of the civil rights activist Fredrick Douglas come to mind as I think of this. When asked as an old man by a young follower about what he should do in his life to further his cause. Douglas replied "Agitate, agitate, agitate." Advice that fits so well to you all right now. Remember the more you agitate, the more you will shake up that fragile mind set and corrupt government.

All my best wishes to yours and our cause.

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