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Malaysian transsexual fights for rights

A Malaysian transgender female will continue the fight to have her 'new' gender legally recognised even after a High Court refused to do so.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

12th January 2011 15:35

Alessia Valenza


KUALA LUMPUR – A MALAYSIAN transsexual vowed to fight for her rights after a court refused to change the gender on her identification documents to female following sex-change surgery, her lawyer said on Sunday.


Lawyer Wong Kah Woh said the High Court ruled on Friday it was sympathetic but couldn’t declare his 35-year-old client – who isn’t identified for safety reasons – a woman because it has no jurisdiction to deal with the issue.

Mr Wong said his client had applied to the National Registration Department to update the gender status on her identity card after undergoing a sex-change operation in Thailand in 2006, but was told to get a court order to declare she is a woman.

‘The court ruled it was not prepared to grant the application because it did not have the power to do so. My client is upset but she will fight for her rights and will appeal the decision,’ Mr Wong told The Associated Press.

Sex-change surgery is legal in mainly Muslim Malaysia, but transsexuals often cannot legally change their gender status.

Activists have estimated there are at least 50,000 transsexuals in Malaysia, many who face widespread prejudice and often cannot find employment. — AP