KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — A group of Indian Malaysian transgender women are living in fear of after a video inciting physical violence against transgenders in public spread on social media this past week.
The video recording of just over two minutes was split into two parts: with the first showing photos of several transgender women of various ethnicities, mostly Indian, taken from their social media accounts such as photo-sharing service Instagram.
In a voice-over narration in Tamil, a man could be heard saying transgenders take drugs to “change” from men to women, warning of an alleged increase in the number of transwomen and a fall of male population.
The man then urged viewers to take “physical action” when they see anybody walking with transgenders, and asked viewers to confront, question and challenge the transgenders to “save” the country and the Tamil community.
The second part of the video was an audio taken from a debate in India, where an unidentified speaker alleged that cow’s milk contains high level of estrogens hormone, and drinking it can turn men into women.
Both the “female” estrogen and “male” androgen sex hormones are present in both men and women, although at different levels.
The Malaysian Tamil Thirunangai Organisation, which governs and cares for the marginalised community, lodged a police report on the video at the Dang Wangi police station yesterday.
“Immediately, the community felt fear. Fear to go out, fear to do normal things, fear to live day-to-day life, worrying what’s going to happen to them next,” the group’s president Suriya Ramaiah told reporters here today.
The organisation claimed that the man was speaking with an accent that is usually adopted by ethnic Indians in Malaysia and Singapore.
Suriya said the video has even been spread to Singapore and Australia, as she has received complaints from her friends who reside there.
She was however heartened by the positive reception from police officers in Dang Wangi who took her report, and the investigating officer in the Travers police station who listened to their grievances.
Also present at the press conference were transgender activist Nisha Ayub and Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu, the wife of former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
A damning 73-page report of Malaysian transgenders by watchdog Human Rights Watch last year detailed among others sexual abuse and violence committed by vigilantes and authorities, in addition to discrimination in the healthcare system.
Transgender activists estimated that there are around 60,000 Malaysian who identify as transgenders.