Former NGO worker Hazreen Shaik Daud is Malaysia’s first transgender in politics after being appointed as political secretary to Tanjung Bungah state assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).
A transgender committee was initially approved in the Penang State to address transgender issues:
The transgender committee will be formed in two months, and aims to collect data and alleviate the status and social stigma associated with the transgender community. Some of their activities will include public forums to spread awareness on the issue.
Hazreen will initially work in the committee but she will also be responsible for other issues as well such as politics, economy, culture, education, health, and human rights.
Hazreen’s appointment generated mixed reactions in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation. On YouTube, W Chinner hailed the courageous decision to hire Hazreen:
I am glad to know that there are Malaysians who support Hazreen. All the very best to you Hazreen. To DAP's Tanjung Bungah state assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu, I applaud your courage by showing your leadership by example.
And to these bigots who spewed hateful comments, you need to find and create your own little world in the closet.
Update and clarification: a person's sexuality is strictly speaking not defined by their gender though these two things are commonly conflated in everyday conversation.
Kelvin Mah thumbs down discrimination
based on sexuality:
this should change, she deserve a chance to show her ability, no one shall be discriminated or hate because of their sexuality.
crossmirage echoed a similar point:
Can transphobes shut up about society falling apart and the world ending already? Humanity survived the black plague, someone presenting as their preferred gender won't hurt you. What a bunch of babies.
But baem mahmud is worried with ‘gender confusion’:
God..help us for we have sinned. Save Malaysia from gender confusions. Save all of us and forgive our past sins.
Sofie Hafiz Ngoo believes Hazreen’s appointment will create problems in the future:
Placing something where is doesn't belong is not how this world works. By you, support in breaking the chain and we all will face a lot of problems in the future.
Abdul Aziz Maaruf thinks Hazreen is confused:
This guy is confused so are the people who supported him.
Americk Sidhu praised DAP:
We are all members of one race….the human race and our differences must not only be tolerated but celebrated. Well done DAP. You are an inspiration. May all those narrow minded bigots bow their heads in eternal shame.
On Malaysiakini, an alternative news website, My4HOPE also recognized the courageous initiative of the Penang State government:
This is by far the most surprisingly courageous, righteous and respectable initiative of Penang State Government after GE13 [General Elections]. Keep this kind of just cause up, to reset the Malaysian Path of Humanity and Dignity.
But Adsertor reminded Malaysian leaders to respect the values of their constituents:
Green YB, are you the MP for the transgender or your constituency? You should represent the values of your constituency and not advocate your personal agenda.
Lynn has mixed feelings over the issue:
While from a religious and personal perspective, I can't support a person's decision to make transgender a lifestyle, its ultimately his or her choice and she or he has to face the consequences. but in this context, if that person is capable and can do the job well, why not.
Carolyn Khor enumerated some issues affecting the transgender community:
Gender is actually not the issue – it is the segregation of gender that makes gender the issue. Gender in our society have, till recently, been plainly categorized as male and female, and though the transgender community have been seeking legal redress in terms of recognition and status, the struggle against age-old conformities are nothing short of an arduous task.
Among the top agendas of the transgender welfare committee are to seek better accessibility for transgender persons in terms of basic needs like accessibilities to healthcare, employment and to provide equal treatment to persons with gender disagreements at public places such as schools, hospitals and detention centres.
Although Malaysia may still be considerably homophobic and reluctant to address the transgender and LGBT issues, the fact remain that such people exist and should be accorded proper and equal rights
There are about ten to fifty thousand transgender persons in Malaysia.