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Malaysian transgenders lose court battle

Case challenging Islamic law’s prohibition of cross-dressing fails
Judge Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad rules against challenge to Islamic cross-dressing law

Four transgender women in Malaysia lost a landmark court case yesterday that challenged an Islamic law that prohibits cross-dressing. 

Muslims in Malaysia are subject to syariah (sharia) law which bars men from dressing as women.

The case challenged the law in the High Court, arguing it infringes the plaintiffs’ constitutional right of non-discrimination.

‘The [judge] said they are born male, they are still male and so the law applies to them... She said cross dressing is condemned in Islam,’ Thilaga Sulathireh, an activist supporting, the case told AFP.

‘It shows if you are Muslim, it’s difficult to challenge anything in this country.’

The four plaintiffs were make-up artists Juzaili Khamis, Shukor Jani, Wan Fairol Wan Ismail and Adam Shazrul Yusoff who have all previously been arrested for cross-dressing.

‘I’m disappointed because it basically deprives me of my freedom and deprives me of the right for me to be myself,’ said Juzaili Khamis about the ruling, The New York Times reports.

The judge, Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad, suggested counselling for the transsexual community in her ruling.

The team plan to appeal. 

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