By Paul Canning
Fatine Young, a Malaysian transsexual in a civil partnership with an English man, Ian Young, has won her asylum claim. The couple had been told by the Home Office they had no right to live together in the UK and instead should live in Malaysia.
Fatine told us:
After nearly a year struggling I am so relieved that the Home Office has approved my asylum claim, knowing that I am safe from the prosecution back home - my plight, known through the media in the UK, has touched a nerve amongst the Muslim community in Malaysia.Fatine's forced asylum claim was based on the strongly negative media reaction in Malaysia, where she is referred to by her former, male name Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari, and because she is in a 'same-sex marriage' and could face action under sharia law. She also received death threats in Malaysian on the Facebook page set up to support the couple. An article in the Malay Mail in December spoke of claims she had "shamed Malaysia".
Honestly I'm not angry at the UK government for keep on rejecting my application, I'm just confused and scared. I don't know what have I done wrong as I know I follow everything by the book. I called my family in Malaysia to tell them the news but received no reaction from them. Ian's family and friends are happy that I got to stay here in UK.
told This Morning in December that when they first applied with a company used by the UK High Commission in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 for a visa for Fatine and officials saw her passport, where because she is a pre-op transsexual she is listed as a man, she received a "terrible reaction". Fatine told us:
I was treated badly and humilated by the staff at the Visa processing centre because I look like a women but my passport is a male.She came to the UK on a tourist's visa in December 2008, Ian proposed and they were allowed to enter a civil partnership last June and, following that, Fatine tried to regularise her situation. Her first leave-to-remain-visa was refused last September, on the grounds of an incorrect passport photo. His second bid was rejected as it was received after the visitor's visa had expired as was another using the 'Right to Family Life' provision under the Human Rights Act. Fatine was then told to return to Malaysia but by this point she had become the focus of local media attention and had no option but the asylum claim.
Though the couple say they've been accepted by Ian's family and their neighbours in Derbyshire, Ian was forced to move from his job as a school caretaker earlier this year after parents' complaints supposedly because of the media coverage in Derbyshire.
Now that the couple know they can stay together in the UK Fatine says that she wants to "start a new chapter in my life":
As soon as I've got my paperwork from Home Office, I will look for work. I know it may be a bit difficult to gain employment but I will try my best, I want to contribute something back to the government.