Felicia Ewert


“The message to trans, inter and non-binary people is: Your existences are not worth enough. Not only the CDU/CSU (Christian-Democratic Party) and the AfD (Ultra-Right Party) voted against the Self-Determination Act, but also the SPD (Socialdemocrats) – who two days before, on the International Day against Homophobia, Bi-, Inter- and Transphobia, were still waving rainbow flags. As if saying: “We think it’s a pity that you are discriminated against, but we stick to discrimination”. In doing so, the law simply supports trans hostility. Additionally, this now sends a significant signal to transphobic people that they can feel in the right. I’ve been through this crap myself, so I wish no one else had to.”


Legal recognition as social right


The 2019 Suhakam Study on Discrimination against Transgender Persons based in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor documents that 20 of 100 respondents have tried to change their gendered details in their legal documents, however, only 6 were fully or partially successful. 13 respondents shared that their applications were rejected or not successful. 86 respondents shared that they would prefer to change gendered details in their legal documents so that their gender identity is recognized, to avoid gender based discrimination, ease daily activities and  movement, increase self-esteem and confidence, among others. The study also shows 72 respondents have thought of migrating to other countries due to among others, lack of openness and legal framework to protect trans people, ability to change their gender marker, access to trans related healthcare services, access of employment, freedom of movement in Malaysia. 


ITGNC Refugees and Asylum Seekers


The 2006 Refugee Act requires refugees and asylum seekers to reside at refugee camps. The result is the camps of Dada and Kakuma being overpopulated with them holding 64% if the 490.000 refugees and asylum seekers residing in Kenya. Intersex, transgender and gender non-conforming refugees and asylum seekers constantly face security threats and attacks from other refugees and the neighbouring communities. A 2021 report found that 100% of transgender persons at Kakuma have experienced physical assault. The ineffective protection measures leads to most ITGN refugees applying for exemption and where it fails, they often flee without permission. Without urban documentation, these refugees and asylum seekers struggle with restricted access to services and activities that require official identity documents, like banking services. Lack of documentation also exacerbates refugees’ encounter with police, including harassment and demands for bribes.


A law to keep fighting


“Any compañera or compañero -because there are men too- who goes to any civil registry in the country will be able to change their identity card and they will not have to pay with their body or with any psychiatric or medical assessment, which are horrendous”, said the historical transvestite activist Lohana Berkins in November 2011, when the Gender Identity Law bill was waiting to be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies. Ten years later, 12,655 people were able to access this right and have a DNI according to their gender identity.

With 55 affirmative votes, none against and one abstention, on May 9, 2012, the Senate passed into law the bill that had been fought for years by the organizations of the trasvesti and trans collective. Thus, it became official that “every person has the right to the recognition of their gender identity, to the free development of their person in accordance” with it and to be treated with dignity according to their identity.

For the Vice-Secretary of Diversity Policies of the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity of the Nation, Greta Pena, the law has been “a before and after, a milestone in the democracy of our country”. However, “this does not mean that it has automatically erased the historical and structural violence suffered by trans people”, she added.