In a landmark court ruling in Malaysia, the nation’s appellate court has thrown out an appeal from a transgender eager to be called a man.
It may mark one of the most oddly humorous of all outcomes, but the decision by the court is certain to be a lead case story, the next time a woman tells that she is actually a man and not what she was born as.
The case at hand concerns a woman who after having had changed her gender, now wants her new found status recognised. The court ruling follows the Malaysian government’s appeal against a decision handed down by the nation’s High Court.
“In my view, the chromosomal requirement is archaic and should be discarded because scientifically, it is impossible for a biological male to have female chromosomes and vice-versa. The male XY and female XX chromosome will remain static throughout the individual’s natural life. To insist on the chromosomal requirement is to ask for the impossible”, judge Nantha Balan was reported to have said as taken from excerpts of the judgment he gave, disallowing the appellant from seeking a change of her gender status.
The case is certain to give rise to all kinds of interpretations over what the ruling will now signal.
Firstly, is the question of human rights. Does the appellant deserve to be denied what is a status not largely of her making even as she was born as a female?
What will the implications be when the appellant decides to use the type of toilet he or she chooses?
Or, will there ever be any chance of the appellant even being able to get married?
Some of these questions and many more must be distressing to not just transgenders in Malaysia but across the world including Singapore.
Interestingly, there is no national data bank on the population of transgenders in Singapore. Or how many of them have actually served national service only to change their gender after completing it. Even if they had, do they really do all the heavy lifting in reserve service assigned to one-time servicemen not classified as being either he or she?
Do transgender have any kind of civil liberties such as the right to vote? Not many of us have seen them at polling booths on polling day, anyway?
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