Focus on inclusion, not alienation, in dealing with LGBT, Putrajaya told

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04/08/2021

Suhakam has urged the government to reconsider its decision to impose heavier punishments for offences associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Commissioner Hishamudin Yunus said the best approach in dealing with LGBT individuals was to “help integrate them into mainstream society” by respecting their constitutional rights to equality, privacy and a life of dignity. Speaking to FMT, the former Court of Appeal judge said it should not be acceptable to discriminate against the community or to treat its members as criminals. He noted that it was not an offence to be a transgender under any of the state shariah criminal enactments and also that crossdressing was no longer a shariah crime in all states except Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Sabah. Crossdressing is an offence only when it is done for immoral purposes such as prostitution. Hishamudin proposed that Putrajaya consider drafting a law to recognise the existence of a third gender “so that transgender persons can live with dignity and be protected from discrimination and hate crimes”.

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