KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — A group of 20 Indian trans women urged the government today to change their gender status on their identity cards (ICs), claiming it was within their religious rights as Hindus.
“If the Hindu temples can acknowledge and permit marriages between a trans woman and a cisgender male — where both individuals are considered heterosexual — why can’t the government acknowledge this and let us change the gender marker in our ICs?
“According to the Federal Constitution, we can propagate our religious rights. If our religion doesn’t restrict us from being who we truly are, why should the government?” transgender advocate Sharan Manthira Naidu said at a press conference.
Sharan, who was introduced to inter-faith discourse by her family as a child, said that Hinduism has had a long history involving transgender people.
She said her studies found that a Hindu devotee identifying as female from a young age may seek to proceed with sex reassignment surgery upon performing a special prayer (pooja).
“If you received signs from the deity after the pooja, you can proceed with the surgery. Then you will start your confinement period of 45 days, where subsequently, you will be recognised as a female,” she said at a press conference at Pertubuhan Kesihatan dan Kebajikan Malaysia (PKKUM) here today.
Sex reassignment surgery is a surgical procedure to transition and reshape male or female genitalia to the desired gender of the individual.