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Life of transgender matriarch celebrated in Malaysia

Transgender ‘Mother Theresa’ of Kuala Lumpur dies aged 68
Banner celebrating Asha Dewi's life carried during the funeral procession

The life of Asha Dewi, a matriarch to the transgender community in Malaysia, was celebrated by over a thousand people with a colorful funeral procession through the streets in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Dewi, 68, died of a heart attack early on Tuesday morning.

The mourners, who were mostly transgender woman Dewi had cared for, were crying and grief-stricken, but also singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Dewi’s coffin was adorned with flowers as it was carried through the streets.

Dewi was ethnically Indian and the funeral ceremony was similar to those performed by the hijra (transgender) community in India.

A transgender woman called Latha who was in the funeral procession told Free Malaysia Today that Dewi helped thousands of transgender people who had been rejected by their families.

‘I was one of the transgenders who was abandoned by my family and Mother was the one who helped me,’ Latha said. 'Not only transgender, Mother also helped many children and the poor around Kuala Lumpur.’

Watch a report of the funeral on Malaysia TV here:

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