In a landmark decision, a court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ruled that Sharia law discriminates against transgender individuals. The litigation addressed whether authorities at a state level could ban people who identify as a different sex from cross-dressing or any other displays of transgender identity. Three men who have undergone hormone treatment had filed the case after being arrested in the southern state of Negerei Sembilan in 2010. A lower court ruled against them in two years later, prompting them to take their case to a higher court in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
This is a great decision. All individuals should have the right to express themselves however they wish with regard to clothing or other displays.
Two transgender women from Brazil were detained and their passports confiscated while on vacation in Dubai. Karen Mke, 38, and Kamilla Satto, 33, were detained while attending a local nightclub with police charging them with the crime of ‘imitating’ women. The incident demonstrates the stupidity of laws that ban certain ways of dressing depending on your biological sex. The pair, who were on a tourist visit, are now awaiting an imminent trial with the possibility of imprisonment, fines and/or deportation to their home state of Amazonas in Brazil.
When security staff at the night club saw that their passports had “masculine” names, they experienced abuse. The pair then called the police, who informed them that it is forbidden for “men to dress as a woman” and arrested them. Dubai punishes the “imitation of women by men” under a law prohibiting “indecent acts” with fines, deportation and possible imprisonment of six months to a year. The pair cannot leave Dubai as their passports have been confiscated by the authorities. Brazil’s embassy confirmed the case and said the pair will have to wait for a court session to be held on March 23.
UPDATE: The court fined the Brazilian defendants, described as “38-year-old C.O. and 31-year-old I.S,” Dh10,000 each and ordered that they be deported.
As part of National Transgender Week in November 2013, members of Camp Hill High School’s gay-straight alliance asked their classmates to “dress up as the opposite sex,” thus affirming a belief in girl and boy clothes.
Guyanese Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang has ruled that cross-dressing is not a crime once it is not done for improper purposes, lifting a partial ban on the practice which goes to the heart of transgender activities here. GLBT rights activists have already indicated that they will appeal the decision, seeking a ruling that nullifies the decades-old legislation that restricts the way people dress in Guyana. The chief justice was not convinced the cross-dressing law amounted to “discrimination” on the basis of gender, which would have been in violation of the Guyana constitution.
Four transsexuals challenged an Islamic law barring men from dressing or behaving as women in Malaysia. The landmark case was heard on Thursday at the Seremban high court, just south of Kuala Lumpur, where the four claimed the Sharia law of the state of Negeri Sembilan infringed on their rights enshrined in the federal constitution.
Homosexuality and transsexual lifestyles remain taboo and are considered a social and moral ill by many in Malaysia, where sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The plaintiffs have previously been arrested under Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment, which bars Muslim men from dressing or posing as women, with Juzaili and Shukor currently facing charges in court.