[JURIST] Malaysia’s Court of Appeal [official website] in Putrajaya struck down an anti-crossdressing law on Friday. Each of Malaysia’s thirteen states and three federal territories have laws prohibiting a man from “posing” as a woman [Human Rights Watch (HRW) report], and three states prohibit a woman from posing as a man. Additionally the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia [official website] has issued fatwa against crossdressing and sex reassignment [fatwa, in Melayu]. The case, filed by three transgender women [HRW report], challenged a Sharia law in the Malay state of Negeri Sembilan prohibiting Muslim men from “posing” as women. The court ruled that the law “deprives the appellants of the right to live with dignity” and struck down the law [AFP report]. The Malay government has not stated whether it will appeal the verdict.
Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have struggled both domestically and internationally against discriminatory laws [JURIST op-ed]. In October, Genevieve Redd reviewed the legal status [JURIST podcast] of gay marriage and marriage involving a transgender partner in light of ongoing litigation in Texas. Also in October a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] urged the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan to reject proposed legislation institutionalizing discrimination against LGBT individuals. Also that month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report in which it urged Jamaica to repeal laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations [JURIST report] between adults, and to remove the gender-specific definitions for sexual intercourse and rape. At the beginning of the year, human rights groups in Iran urged the president to end the persecution of LGBT individuals [JURIST report]. The UN has increasingly paid attention to this issue, as last year was the first time the UN held a ministerial meeting on LGBT rights [JURIST report].