Women's March organisers stress rally was about women's rights

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 10 Mar 2019

PETALING JAYA: Organisers of the International Women’s Day march have reiterated five demands, including ensuring women’s rights, amidst backlash over the presence of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) participants at the rally.

The organisers said contrary to the moral panic “instigated by the media, and amplified by the political opportunism by individuals in positions of authority,” the rally calls for ending violence based on gender and sexual orientation, banning child marriages, ensuring women’s rights and freedom to make choices over their own bodies and lives, and ensuring a dignified minimum wage of RM1,800, among others.

The group also calls for destroying patriarchy and building a genuine democracy at all levels of society.

More than 1,000 people took to the streets near Sogo KL on Saturday (March 9) morning to march for women’s rights, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

The marchers included participants from several women’s groups such as Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Sisters in Islam (SIS), activists, members of the public and students.

Many held colourful placards that championed various issues, including ending discrimination against women, ending child marriage, ending violence against women and calling for gender equality.

As they marched from Sogo KL to Masjid Jamek, they chanted slogans like “End child marriage”, “Hidup Wanita!”, “Stop sexism”, “Jangan Kacau LGBT” and more.

It said that the importance of realities and demands were entirely sidelined by the media and those who opposed the march.

“Instead, disproportionate attention was made to single out and target the presence of the LGBT participants. This borders on incitement of hate and violence towards a section of the society, who are at risk and facing multiple forms of discrimination.

“We strongly reject such a move and the continued escalation of this hostile and aggressive treatment,” it said in a statement.

The government, it added, cannot be selective in carrying out this duty to only particular groups of women, but must apply it to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, age, ability, location, gender, or sexuality.

“This includes not only lesbian, bisexual, intersex, queer, and transwomen, but also indigenous women, young women, domestic workers, women with disabilities, rural women, single women, heterosexual women and more.

“The specific and deliberate non-recognition of LGBT women acts as an attempt to exclude and erase an entire segment of the population of women.

“Without such an intersectional and inclusive approach, all of our measures towards building a more peaceful, harmonious and developed nation will be hampered,” the statement said.

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