DEC 1 — On the November 29, I came across an article written anonymously in the Malay language which was published on the blogs of Bernama and Astro Awani. The title of the article is “Bekalan ubat murah dorong kegiatan Mak Nyah”, which means ‘Supply of cheap drugs induces transgender activities’. The content was written based on quotes made by a certain individual named Mohd Khariri Ramli, 36, who was “so called” self-acclaimed an ex-transsexual woman who goes by the name of Erin.
I would at least expect that the editor would have done some background check on this person before publishing such a discriminating article which would give the readers a wrong impression about transgenders in Malaysia. Transgenders are born, not formed. They are individuals born with Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria. They know for a fact that their gender is the opposite from their anatomical sex. And related psychiatrist, psychologists and medical professionals can back them up.
There have been researches done about transgender children and adults over 50 years and the conclusion made is that it is even deeper than hormones and chromosomes, because it is related to the brain since the baby is in the mother’s womb. For a fact, most male anatomical babies receive male gender identity, and female anatomical babies receive female gender identity since they are an embryo in their mother’s womb. But transgender babies have a female gender imprinted in their brains if their anatomical sex was male, and vice versa for those born with female body and a male brain.
Gender is not a binary. It is a spectrum. There is no COMPLETE man or woman in this world. Every male have certain female attributes and every female have certain male attributes. They are called sexual characteristics. These characteristics can be adopted developed through surroundings and environment, or it could be inert since birth. Not all birth defects can be identified at birth. You will not know if your baby is deaf, blind, or even autistic until they grow to a certain age. Just the same, you wouldn’t know the GENDER of your baby until he/ she reaches a certain age. And their gender is not based on their anatomical sex (what is between their legs). Your genitals define your anatomy’s sex, NOT your gender.
That is why in the growing process, you do not have to teach your baby boy or your baby girl which parent’s sex to follow as they grow. They follow their inert instinct which is told to them by their brain, and you CANNOT reverse that. You can only suppress the person from being their true identity by tormenting them and creating fear and that is what society does to them. But people forgot that the more wrong information about them is published and circulated, the more hate crimes and violence it contributes. People don’t need a reason to hate someone, so they have to find a reason, and thanks to publishers like Astro Awani, they get their reason to brutalise and injure transgender people, like Lily who was slashed by a gang of Malay men a few months back in Pahang.
A transgender woman who was mute from birth (couldn’t speak) and who was living off the streets and also with the little money she got from sex work had been kidnapped by a group of men, molested, raped, stabbed 5 times at her back and thrown in a river in Setapak few years back. News like this you don’t see being published in the media. Why? Why do you pick and choose the news you write about transgenders? Have they caused pain and injury to you? All the pain is being suffered by them since the day they realise their true Gender.
There are many transvestites like Erin too in this world. They are men who simply would like to associate with transsexuals to look and be like them, but the fact is they are NOT them at all. This group of people is NOT born with Gender Identity Disorder. If anyone calls Erin a Mak Nyah, I challenge them to take him for psychiatrical evaluation from only a non-biased specialist who has experience with transgender individuals. Has Erin firstly been diagnosed with GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER or GENDER DYSPHORIA?
If he has, then why did he “reverse” himself since the fact that you cannot reverse gender? If you are going to talk about Islam, what is being practiced here is very hypocritical. I have my reasons to state this. Why? Because first of all, Malaysia is NOT an Islamic country. Malaysia is a Circular Country which is indeed a Moslem Majority country. To begin with, the only enactment being implemented in the Syariah Law, which is NOT a legislative law in Malaysia, is the one that says “a man or woman impersonating the other sex for illicit or immoral purposes in public will be fined a minor sum or be put to jail or both”. This enactment varies from state to state and is not consistent. So why isn’t Islam, a religion that believes in one god, having contradicting methods of practice?
Also another thing I would like to point out. The Federal Constitution is the Supreme Law of the federation, but the Syariah Law is only to govern the morality of the Moslems of the country. In this case, why are the Non-Moslem transgender affected as well? Post-operative transsexuals who are Hindus are not given Female identity or even name change on their identification cards. Transgenders are accepted and venerated as a higher gender in the Hindu religion, but why are they not being allowed to propagate their religious rights in Malaysia which is allowed in the federal constitution?
In Islam, transgenders who are indeed born with Gender Identity Disorder is accepted by the religion and is not counted as a sin. The term mukhannathun describes gender-variant people, usually male-to-female transsexuals. Neither this term nor the equivalent for “eunuch” occurs in the Qur’an but the term does appear in the Hadith, a secondary text collecting the sayings of Muhammad. Moreover, Islamic tradition endorses using scholarship to elaborate, refine, and extend religious doctrines. Scholar and Hadith collector An-Nawawi so extends doctrine by a passage containing a trans-positive message.
“A mukhannath is the one (male) who carries in his movements, in his appearance and in his language the characteristics of a woman. There are two types; the first is the one in whom these characteristics are innate, he did not put them on by himself, and therein is no guilt, no blame and no shame, as long as he does not perform any (illicit) act or exploit it for money (prostitution etc.). The second type acts like a woman out of immoral purposes and he is the sinner and blameworthy.”
So how come religious authorities are giving the WRONG message to the public about transgenders? If what is mentioned in the Hadith is true, why isn’t Erin being punished by the authorities or the government and why is he being celebrated by them? Is it because of the fact that he was a “transgender-wannabe” and thus due to impersonating as a transgender he knows the ways transgender people try to undergo transformation to match their anatomical sex to their gender identity?
To be honest, no real man would wish to be a woman knowing that he is going to be hated by the world. And no parents would teach their children to grow up behaving the opposite sex. Children are innocent and it is their gender identity which makes them choose to be a male or a female. There is famous Muay-Tai fighter who is a transsexual woman. This proves that being a transsexual does not have to do with influence from doing masculine or feminine activities. There are transsexual women who are mountain climbers and boxers. And if any person thinks that anyone can simply consume hormones to develop breasts the cheap and fast way, I would like to challenge one heterosexual common male to experiment taking hormones to see if he develops breasts.
The thing with hormones is that if you are a real transwoman, either you do not use your male genital that you are born with or it is naturally dysfunctional. There is no production of sperm and you are not active sexually as a male. That is why the hormones work in transforming your appearance physically from male to female, and vice versa. If you are indeed a man, then you would not experience this change because you are sexually active as a male. So I wonder, after years of hormones and his so called fast development, where is Erin’s breasts?
If you have suffered a bad fate or experience, that has no relation to your gender. It is a personal thing as being an individual. In this world, there are good people and bad people. And this is regardless of gender. If you say that due to some transpeople behaving immoral that makes all of them bad because they are transgenders, then why not blame common men and women as well because there are many men who are abusive towards women and children in this world, and many women who get pregnant before marriage and abort their baby or even kill their baby. So isn’t the common male and female race bad as well?
The funny thing I never understood was why don’t the media choose to interview much worthy transpersons when writing about transsexuals? We have Kartini Salmah who is an international icon born in Malaysia, a transrights activist for 25 years in the country, we have Sulastri Ariffin, Nisha Ayub, and many other transsexuals who are working decent jobs and contributing to the development of the country. Why not interview them and publish their stories?
If you say we are a deviance to society, mind you, in a study survey in August 2010, we discovered Malaysia has 30,000 transgender people and 180,000 men who have sex with other men, and these are people who are literate and have access to the internet and are knowledgeable to take part in a survey. What about those who are illiterate, those who live in rural areas of the country and those who do not have access to internet? So do you mean to tell me a quarter of Malaysia’s population are doing immoral acts and working as sex workers? Then we should be a rich country by now. Why, Erin should have already gone for sex reassignment surgery by now, in that case!
The fact is that most of us here are working in companies and are paying tax and also contributing to the EPF. Isn’t that the money which is generated by investments to be utilised in the development of the country, and also the corrupt method of handing monetary gifts (BR1M) to the public for support? The how can you say that LGBT people are a deviance to society and that we are no good to the country?
If you people were not as narrow minded as you were, we wouldn’t experience this much of hate and violence. We can’t get decent jobs because of the way we are being portrayed in the media, thus we resort to sex work for survival. In the recent meeting with the Human Rights Affairs (United Nations), Malaysia had signed the agreement with CEDAW which is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The report was published in April 2012.
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