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Gender Recognition Would Help Address Rights Violations

“I have never had official employment,” Aisha (not her real name), a Malaysian trans woman who does sex work, told Human Rights Watch and Justice for Sisters in 2019. “I tried. I applied for a job selling perfume, but the employer said they would only…
Transgender people in Malaysia face discrimination and abuses by government officials and agents, including public sector medical staff, teachers and local government officials. © 2014 Javad Tizmaghz Photography by Human Rights Watch
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Discriminatory Federal, State Laws and Policies Remain in Place

Malaysia’s Federal Court on February 25 ruled that a state law banning consensual same-sex conduct was unconstitutional. While the ruling leaves intact a federal statute criminalizing same-sex relations, it does bring relief to those who have faced…
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Judge Denies Abused Woman Divorce, Citing ‘Traditional Values’

“In principle, in divorce cases, the first time one sues for divorce, it won’t be granted. [Marriage is] a traditional value,” said Judge Zhang Yanbin in the Chinese city of Chengdu, ruling against a woman’s petition for divorce. “We made the ruling to…
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, December 26, 2015.
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Vote Could Undermine Constitutional Court Ruling Upholding Basic Rights

People’s human rights should not hinge on a popular vote. But that’s exactly what is happening in Taiwan, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are at risk. Ironically, the latest threat…
Supporters of same-sex marriage take part in a rally outside Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Taiwan, December 10, 2016.
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A Glint of Progress but Government Lags in LGBT Protections

The Hong Kong government has implemented a court order to recognize same-sex spouses of residents in visa proceedings. The case that led to the order, QT v Director of Immigration, began in 2011. “QT,” a female British…
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Ban Caning, Decriminalize Homosexual Acts

A Malaysian sharia court today postponed the scheduled caning of two women, charged with engaging in lesbian sex acts, until September 3, 2018 due to “technical issues.” The Terengganu Sharia court had convicted the women to six strokes…
Activists hold a National Wear V-neck Day gathering in response to seminars led by the Malaysian government on “spotting gay symptoms,” in Kuala Lumpur, September 30, 2012.
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Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18

When the news broke last week that a 41-year-old man from Kelantan had married an 11-year-old girl, alarm bells went off in Malaysia’s newly elected government as well as among nongovernmental groups. The Kelantan state police started …
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
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Ruling Should Prompt Banning of Practice to Change Sexual Orientation

Last week, in an unprecedented case, a court in China ruled against a public hospital that had forced a gay man into so-called conversion therapy. This ruling was the first of its kind – against a public institution in China. The…
Activists raise a rainbow flag as they march during a demonstration to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Changsha, Hunan province May 17, 2013.
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Authorities Should Investigate the Killing, Prosecute Perpetrators

At about 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, a 27-year-old transgender woman, Sameera Krishnan, was brutally murdered in Kuantan city, Malaysia. Krishnan who worked in a florist shop, was attacked with a knife and received slash wounds to her hands, arm, head,…
Photo of Sameera Krishnan.
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The Furong District People’s Court in Changsha didn’t seem to think its decision needed an explanation. Despite the court’s terse dismissal of a landmark case that would have recognized the first same-sex marriage in China,…
Activists raise a rainbow flag as they march during a demonstration to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Changsha, Hunan province May 17, 2013.
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On April 24, the Chinese government’s willingness to examine domestic violence as a possible mitigating factor in sentencing will go on trial as a Sichuan court rules in the case of Li Yan, who was sentenced to death for murdering her abusive husband. Her…
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This Saturday, thousands of Peruvians are expected to take to the streets of Lima to "March for Equality". The march, the second of its kind, comes hot on the heels of a vote on a civil union bill in the Peruvian Congress. The bill, which proposed legal…
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“Islam is evil” is just one of many anti-Muslim slurs uttered by retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, executive vice-president of the Washington-based Family Research Council (FRC) and former undersecretary of defense for intelligence under US…
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On waking from an afternoon nap, first century Chinese Emperor Ai of the Han Dynasty (27 to 1 BC) cut off his sleeve rather than wake his male lover, Dong Xiang, who was sleeping across it.  For two thousand years same-sex love has been referred to in…
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“I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition.” Today marks four years since Oslo’s City Hall reverberated with these words of Liu Xiaobo, along with his calm but fierce defense of the freedom of expression and his bedrock belief…
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A high-level Chinese official who’s overseen numerous rights abuses has come under official investigation. But hopes for real justice aren’t high. When the news broke today that the Chinese Communist Party will investigate China’s former domestic security…
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Serafina (not her real name) led me up the staircase – her thick, sleek ponytail swinging back and forth – to an apartment in Seremban, Malaysia, that smelled of nail polish, green tea, and cigarettes. “I love myself,” she told me, perched on the arm of…
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(Washington, DC) - Under President Bush's November 13th Military Order on military commissions, any foreign national designated by the President as a suspected terrorist or as aiding terrorists could potentially be detained, tried, convicted and even…
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