Saturday, 30 July 2011

In Malaysia, trans woman who lost High Court case dies of heart attack

Aleesha Farhana
By Paul Canning

A 26-year-old transgender woman, Aleesha Farhana, lost her case in Malaysia's High Court July 17 after the National Registration Department refused to update her name and gender on her identity card despite her having undergone sex reassignment surgery. Now she is dead.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that Farhana passed away from a heart attack at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Kuala Terengganu. She was admitted to hospital on Friday evening after experiencing heart problems and low-blood pressure. The news site quotes her father as saying that she suffered from severe depression after her court application to change her name was rejected.

A candlelight vigil for Aleesha will be held in front of the Malaysian Bar Council in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm on Saturday, 30 July.

Co-organiser of the vigil Pang Khee Teik said:
"We are holding a candlelight vigil for her tonight 8pm in front of the Bar Council, to stand for the justice she was denied and to remember her courage in fighting for what is due to her. If you like to make posters with her name or messages to her family, who has been supportive of their daughter, please do. Please join us to remember this brave woman."
Members of the Malaysian transgender community have issued a statement to express their disappointment with the court's refusal to allow Aleesha Farhana to change her name and gender. The statement also urges the state to do more to protect transgender rights.

Source: New Straits Times 

A medical assistant failed in his application at the High Court yesterday to have his name and gender altered in his identity card.

In dismissing the application, High court judge Datuk Yazid Mustafa said the court did not have the power to declare a gender change legal, adding that there were no provisions that allowed for a sex change.

Yazid, who took 45 minutes to read the grounds for his decision, also highlighted numerous factors, including the applicant's chromosome count, external and internal organs, as well as his physical and psychological conditions.
"We took into account the testimony of the applicant's mother, who noticed an anomaly in the applicant's sexual organ since young, and that she had accepted her child's feminine tendencies."
Yazid said the purpose of the sex-change procedure was not meant for an individual to change his or her gender but to allow the individual to feel comfortable with his or her body.
"Unless the applicant was listed wrongly by medical staff, the gender attributed to the individual is legitimate."

HT: Fridae
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