LGBT activists want Mujahid to meet Pang over impact of state policies

LGBT activists are urging Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa to meet Pang Khee Teik about  the overarching impact of the state’s policies on all persons. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
LGBT activists are urging Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa to meet Pang Khee Teik about the overarching impact of the state’s policies on all persons. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

PETALING JAYA, Aug 11 — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) LGBT activists are urging Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa to meet Pang Khee Teik in order to understand the overarching impact of the state’s policies on all persons regardless of religious background following a meeting with transgender advocate Nisha Ayub yesterday.

“Pang, who is a human rights activist, in his activism to make visible the discrimination, violence and marginalisation faced by LGBT persons has resulted in him being publicly vilified, investigated by the state, losing his employment, and having threats and hateful comments thrown against him.

“The government has a duty to respect and protect the human rights of all and create an enabling environment for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights,” they said in a statement today.

Yesterday Mujahid met with Nisha following the removal of her and Pang’s portraits — which were labelled ‘LGBT activists’ — from the George Town Festival 2018 earlier this week.

Despite applauding the move by the ministry in showing the government’s openness to dialogue as significant, the group said the attempt to define and classify LGBT activists on their behalf was divisive, problematic and unhelpful. 

“Many Malaysians are not aware of the extent to which transgender persons live with daily experiences of stigma, discrimination and violence because of the lack of open channels to hear LGBT people.

“Mujahid could also have avoided some of the harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about LGBT activists that he brought up during the press conference with Nisha following the dialogue.”

They added Mujahid could have met with the group to understand further before issuing the order for the removal of the portraits.

The group also welcomed Mujahid’s call for no discrimination against the trans community as comments that incite violence and threaten personal safety were unacceptable.

“In the past, the government was silent on the attacks against LGBT persons and in some cases subjected the victims to further persecution.

“The pervasive level of stigma and discrimination also hinders LGBT from accessing healthcare services, justice and other fundamental rights,” the activists said.

The group also acknowledged the homophobic and transphobic comments from the public directed at Mujahid following his statement, agreeing that people regardless of background were subjected to discrimination due to their association with LGBT persons.

Pointing out the severe impact on the well-being and security of the whole LGBT population, they also urged the public to stop making degrading and hateful comments against LGBT people.

“Such comments create an environment which encourages and overlooks bullying, blackmail, emotional, physical and sexual violence, and other criminal acts carried out against LGBT persons by various people, including family members.

“We encourage people to learn and educate themselves about gender identity and sexual orientation, and to talk to us.

“We believe openness and dialogue can have transformative effects. Therefore we call for all relevant government ministries to meet with LGBT human rights groups,” the group said.

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