A state in Malaysia plans to run a conversion therapy course to help trans women find a ‘path to make the best choices for their lives’.
The eastern costal state of Terengganu announced its plans over the weekend to run conversion therapy course.
Participation in the course would be voluntary. It would happen in 2018 after a survey of the trans community was completed.
Terengganu executive council member Ghazali Taib said the course would involve medical, psychological and religious experts. The course would also include trans women who have ‘returned to normal lives’.
‘Transgender women are part of our society… they are our responsibility,’ he told AFP.
‘At the end, it is up to them to make a choice. The government’s concept is not (to) force. (We) give them a path to make the best choices for their lives.’
LGBTI activists in Malaysia condemned the state’s plans
Prominent trans activist Nisha Ayub heads the Justice for Sisters organization. The group aims to raise awareness about issues about violence and persecution against the trans woman population in Malaysias.
Ayub took to her Facebook page to call on the state government should educate themselves about the LGBTI community before running a conversion course.
‘Stop assuming that you can change a person into the mould of your own beliefs or understanding. This is not about a puppet but about a human being,’ she wrote.
‘They need to see that actually we the community are not the problem, but it’s the system that they created that causes the problems to the community.
‘This is not the matter of religion but it’s a matter of being inclusive towards your citizens from different diverse backgrounds towards the developments, health and economical point of view.’
Ayub also said the trans community faced many barriers in life because of violence and discrimination they face from society.
‘They [state government] would also need to look into why all the previous corrective approaches did not manage to so-called change the community and bring them back to whatever right path,’ she said.
‘They need to know that all this kind of correction approaches and trying to change our gender identity does not help but create more harm to the community.’