Authorities in Malaysia have been offering “courses” aimed at changing transgender people.
The claim is that it is just a programme to give trans people different opportunities, and that no person will be forced to take them.
In reality, these practices include verbal or physical abuse and have been condemned by psychological and medical organisations across the world.
In a statement published in 2012, the Pan American Health Organisation said that so-called “reparative therapies” aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation are not based on any scientific evidence and lack medical purpose.
And that the same applies to gender identity and expression.
“‘Reparative’ or ‘conversion therapies’ have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons. They constitute unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions and penalties,” the statement concludes.
The Malaysian government’s “courses” are part of a larger action plan to “curb social ills,” which, in their view, includes the LGBTQ community.
SEED, Asia Pacific Transgender Network and All Out are three organisations who are working together to try and stop these dangerous “courses” and secure Malaysian activists a meeting with the Minister of Health.
Matt Beard, Executive Director of All Out said: “These so-called ‘courses’ shouldn’t exist anymore – not in Malaysia, not anywhere.
“They fuel hatred, violence, and discrimination. They’re a violation of human rights. By hosting these ‘courses,’ authorities are reinforcing the prejudiced rhetoric that trans people can be changed to fit their own ideals of what is right or wrong.”
You can sign the petition and join the campaign here.
Ana Andrade is a campaigner for All Out.