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Monday, November 21, 2005

State sex-change status in ICs: MP

Sun2Surf
Regina William

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A person who undergoes a sex change should be allowed to have this stated in the identity card so that the current sexual identity is not disputed.

Bukit Mertajam MP and DAP deputy secretary general Chong Eng said in a statement, a person who has undergone a sex-change operation cannot be classified as male and neither is she a natural female.

"The identity card should accurately state the person as a male or female who has undergone a sex-change operation.

"For instance, take the case of Mumtaz, a transsexual who had undergone a sex-change operation. She alleged that three policemen ordered her to strip naked for them to see if she was physically a woman and not male as stated on her identity card.

"To allow a transsexual person like Mumtaz to state her sex-change status does not mean the government supports sex-change, but is merely taking the necessary steps to categorise persons who have undergone sex-change procedures.

"This would then enable the police and other public and private agencies to recognise their gender status.

"If Mumtaz was allowed to state her gender status in her identity card then the three policemen would not have the excuse to order her to strip for them to see with their own eyes that she is physically a woman. Such a step will, at least, prevent police from abusing their power to order transsexuals to strip naked," she stressed.

She stressed that the current policy of not allowing persons like Mumtaz and Jessie Chung, another transsexual who had also undergone a sex-change operation, and the first transsexual to have openly married recently, had caused difficulties in their daily interactions in the private and public sectors.

Chong claimed they are not allowed to purchase health insurance or take housing loans from banks and they face difficulties in securing employment, and on top of this, they face discrimination and humiliation.

"Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution among other things, prohibits discrimination based on gender.

"Transsexuals and those who have undergone sex-change operations have a gender of their own and have similar rights as any other male or female human being.

"As a minority group their life is already difficult. The government, which claims to be caring and ever ready to serve the people, must not make their lives more difficult by banning change of gender status in their ICs. They are people too," she stressed.

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