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Malaysia appoints trans woman as health consultant in the fight to HIV

Malaysia appoints trans woman as health consultant in the fight to HIV

Rania Zara Medina | Photo: Facebook

A Malaysian trans woman has been appointed as a trans health consultant by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (KKM).

Trans activist Rania Zara Medina will represent the Malaysian trans community in the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). She will serve in the two-year mandate, covering 2019-2021.

Malaysia is fighting HIV and AIDS

CMMs are national committees that submit funding applications to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on behalf of an entire country.

Hype reports CMMs include representatives from government, the private sector, technical partners, civil society and communities living with the diseases.

Ever since its inception in 2009, Malaysia’s CMM aims to tackle HIV and AIDS. According to 2016 data, there are 99,338 HIV positive men and 12,578 HIV positive women in Malaysia.

Trans women in Malaysia

The 25 members include government agencies, NGOs, academics and community representatives from targeted groups. Trans people are among the latter.

Medina is a former winner of a popular contest for trans women, IKON TW. CMM chose her to advocate for better health for the trans community.

‘I would like to thank the whole community and my followers who have been supporting me since the beginning of the nomination to today’s appointment,’ she wrote after the appointment.

She then added: ‘Without your trust, I wouldn’t be able to take on this responsibility. I will do my best for all of us.’

Medina’s appointment caused a stir

Despite the huge support, Medina’s appointment has caused a stir in Malaysia.

Many are opposing CMM’s decision, blaming it on the new government.

‘This has nothing to do with the new government,’ Medina replied in a Facebook post.

‘There has been a position for transwomen to be represented since the time of Datuk Seri Najib Razak [the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2009 to 2018],’ she also said.

‘Please understand, do not jump [to conclusions’] without knowledge.’

See also

Gay sex video: Hundreds call for Malaysian minister resign

Malaysian rights groups call out state for anti-LGBTI actions

Malaysian political party sacks youth chief over gay sex video