Gender education, not gender test, will end discrimination against Sajat

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We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned over the speculation and scrutiny of Nur Sajat’s gender identity and the escalation of events concerning this matter.

We echo Nur Sajat’s assertion that her gender identity is not, and should not, be a matter of national interest.

As stipulated by the Article 5 of the Federal Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all persons are born equal and free and are entitled to live their lives with dignity. The continued harassment of the celebrity and entrepreneur on social media by members of the public and persecution by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) is a blatant violation of Nur Sajat’s rights.

Jakim had reportedly visited Sajat on 20 January 2018 with her parents present. While the meeting was described as “positive”, Jakim then announced its plan to conduct a test to determine Sajat’s gender identity.

We are concerned that this move by Jakim will further victimise and bring humiliation to Nur Sajat. Her wellbeing and dignity should always remain the utmost priority, as she has been the recipient of hateful comments, investigation and disclosure of personal information since 2016, all due to her gender identity.

We firmly believe that no one should be subjected to gender or medical tests to prove their gender identity. This process is inherently intrusive, degrading, dehumanising, and most importantly, unnecessary.

We emphasise that gender identity is not determined by our genitals. In addition, both sex and gender identity is a spectrum, consisting of many identities that are not limited to male, female, women, men.

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People who are intersex, transgender, gender queer are equally normal identities that exist similar to cisgender persons, or people whose identities assigned at birth ‘match’ their lived experiences or how they feel and identify. We reiterate that neither sex nor gender identity are a binary.

We therefore condemn any initiatives or attempts to incite such initiatives of verifying anyone’s gender identity. If Jakim insists on pursuing this course of action, we demand that Jakim make public what is entailed as their gender test, and all related processes.

It is important to note that many countries have moved away from a medicalised approach on sex and gender due to its intrusive nature. In fact, medical examinations are not necessary and it is prohibited to request for medical assessment in many countries, including Malta that has mechanisms for trans and intersex people to change their details assigned at birth.

Instead of focusing on Nur Sajat’s gender identity, we call on the government to take meaningful measures to increase understanding and educate government agencies and members of the public regarding gender identity and gender-based bullying and violence.

Nur Sajat has consistently experienced gender-based online bullying as a result of the speculation and scrutiny of her gender identity.

Since 2016, Sajat has experienced disclosure of personal information, including her identification card and alleged childhood photos; she has been pressured by online users to ‘change’ or ‘return to the right path’, forcing her to disclose personal details about herself publicly; she has received hateful comments; she has been subjected to name calling; she has had calls for investigations and more.

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We believe such harassment is serious, harmful, and should not be normalised. We emphasise the state has an obligation to protect all persons from discrimination and violence, including transgender, intersex and gender queer persons.

Endorsed by:

Justice for Sisters
Trans men of Malaysia
Seed Malaysia
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor
Sisters in Islam
Women’s Aid Organisation
All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
Association of Women Lawyers
Pelangi — Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative
Komuniti Muslim Universal
People Like Us, Hang Out! (Pluho)
Suaram Malaysia
Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (Mash)
The Malaysian Feminist

Source: themalaymailonline.com

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