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Wednesday August 3, 2011
I REFER to “Zaid: Give leeway on sex change” (The Star, Aug 1) with regard to the untimely death of transgender Mohd Ashraf Hariz Abdul Aziz.
I agree with the analysis of the former de facto Law Minister. Though Ashraf is now dead, his/her legal struggle and complicated status captivated the public, and there is no doubt whatsoever that what begun as an unorthodox case is now part and parcel of public discourse.
I concur that laws and processes enabling people to change their gender should be made easier.
Mother Nature sometimes is not precise in her creation.
This was exemplified in that impassioned letter by Associate Professor Dr Peter J. Pereira (“Transgenders have rights, too – The Star, July 24).
Transgenders are our fellow human beings; the only difference is that we are certain of our sexual orientation and gender affiliation.
They also deserve to be loved and cherished. It is their inherent natural human right to love and be loved, regardless and irrespective of their abnormalities, deformities and physiological-sexual limitations.
The dichotomy of the individual and that of society has long been settled by both sociology and anthropology. The presence of varied elements is precisely one of the key ingredients for society to grow and develop.
Such a society would undeniably be vibrant, humane, accommodative to change and refreshingly adaptive to the prevailing circumstances.
On the question of the absence of an enabling statute that would grant Ashraf’s petition, let me state that it is now the prevailing thread in international legal practice, sanctioned by numerous jurisdictions, that the judge or the magistrate, or the court for that matter, is not powerless to assume jurisdiction and decide the case beyond its merits and to transcend the limitation of the given law at a particular time.
The court can exercise discretion and pass a judgment based on equity, general reason and the international principles of natural justice, including the various international treaties this country had signed and agreed to.
This is judicial legislation and judicial activism in the name of humanity.
The equal protection clause of the Federal Constitution is anti-sexism, anti-discrimination, anti-racism and against all forms of cruelty. It is a document of justice, equality and fairness.
Again, to quote Dr Pereira, just like the blind, the deaf and other physically disadvantaged people, transgenders have basic human rights.
I agree with Zaid when he asked what was so sacrosanct about gender?
These are changes in the body. Only the person knows what he/she is going through.
Indeed, as Zaid pointed out, at the end of the day, society as a whole cannot fathom what’s going on inside the head of an individual, nor has it the power to check the feelings and agony suffered by a lonely heart.
Every individual is unique and special, every soul has its own mind and feelings, which society can never ever fully conquer nor decipher.
Ashraf is dead, yet I believe that he/she did not die in vain! The struggle that he/she commenced will never die and the battles that he/she fought so passionately will never fade.
JOSE MARIO DOLOR DE VEGA,
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