CEDAW in Defending the Human Rights of Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Transgenders in Malaysia

[Resourcel URL]

Go to Resource

[Relevance]

This article is relevant for development and humanitarian practitioners, especially those involved in socio-legal research using CEDAW as a basis for the protection of the rights of all people. Through the case study of Malaysia, the intersecting factors of shariah law, CEDAW, homophobia and transphobia are examined.

This academic paper considers the application of the Convention of Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in defending the rights of lesbian, bi and trans people in Malaysia. The paper opens with a background on CEDAW and its evolution from a convention thought only to apply to cis-gender and ostensibly heterosexual women to one that has grown to encompass discrimination against lesbian, bi and trans individuals.

The paper considers Malaysia’s obligations under the dueling mandates of CEDAW and shariah law–which does not recognise the rights of people with diverse SOGIESC. The paper then moves into a discussion of the extreme interpretations used to police the bodies and sexuality of women in Malaysia and other sexual rights violations. The paper then puts the framework of CEDAW and Malaysia’s obligations under CEDAW, on top of these rights violations.

The paper then provides a background of the status of human rights related to diverse SOGIE in Malaysia, noting that laws and policies are increasingly discriminatory. Case studies are provided. The overall situation of the LGBT population in Malaysia is then discussed–the absence of official statistics on violence towards the LGBT population is highlighted. The following section specifically considers human rights violations of trans people in Malaysia. What little data exists on trans people in Malaysia is overwhelmingly focused on trans women–discrimination against trans men is often less visible and less researched.

Further human rights violations of the LGBT community are explored before case studies of persecution of people with diverse SOGIE by state and non-state actors are presented. The case studies consider, inter alia, the experiences of a trans woman who was orphaned at a young age; the right to choose a life partner; and asylum-seeking.

The final section describes Malaysia’s obligations under CEDAW and provides detailed recommendations to ensure the rights of women, in all their diversity, are protected.

[Quote]

"Trans men face similar forms of discrimination. However, their discrimination is often less visible because this community tries as much as possible to blend into mainstream society to escape harassment and to safeguard their livelihood and privacy. There is even less research and documentation of the issues they face, compared to their trans women counterparts."

Most Popular Resources

Beginner's Guide

No such thing as neutral: Understanding the implications of COVID-19 for communities with diverse SOGIE in the Global North

This Think Piece is by Kirsty McKellar, one of Edge Effect’s 2020 interns. Kirsty has recently completed her masters of Development Studies...

We deserve human rights: Interview with Emma Yaaka

Emma Yaaka (he/him) is an LGBTIQ+ advocate who has worked to provide medical services and information to LGBTIQ+ refugees in Kenya and...

This academic paper considers the application of the Convention of Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in defending the rights of lesbian, bi and trans people in Malaysia. The paper opens with a background on CEDAW and its evolution from a convention thought only to apply to cis-gender and ostensibly heterosexual women to one that has grown to encompass discrimination against lesbian, bi and trans individuals.

The paper considers Malaysia’s obligations under the dueling mandates of CEDAW and shariah law–which does not recognise the rights of people with diverse SOGIESC. The paper then moves into a discussion of the extreme interpretations used to police the bodies and sexuality of women in Malaysia and other sexual rights violations. The paper then puts the framework of CEDAW and Malaysia’s obligations under CEDAW, on top of these rights violations.

The paper then provides a background of the status of human rights related to diverse SOGIE in Malaysia, noting that laws and policies are increasingly discriminatory. Case studies are provided. The overall situation of the LGBT population in Malaysia is then discussed–the absence of official statistics on violence towards the LGBT population is highlighted. The following section specifically considers human rights violations of trans people in Malaysia. What little data exists on trans people in Malaysia is overwhelmingly focused on trans women–discrimination against trans men is often less visible and less researched.

Further human rights violations of the LGBT community are explored before case studies of persecution of people with diverse SOGIE by state and non-state actors are presented. The case studies consider, inter alia, the experiences of a trans woman who was orphaned at a young age; the right to choose a life partner; and asylum-seeking.

The final section describes Malaysia’s obligations under CEDAW and provides detailed recommendations to ensure the rights of women, in all their diversity, are protected.