A council member said the program would include experts in medicine, psychology and religion as well as trans women who he described as having "returned to normal lives".
Mathew Whitehead, Presented by
Mathew Whitehead

2 Jan 2018 - 2:51 PM  UPDATED 2 Jan 2018 - 2:51 PM

A plan to run a conversion therapy targeted at trans women in Terengganu, Malaysia has come under criticism from alarmed LGBT+ activists.

The government-funded clinic would aim to "cure' transgender women in the country, with a course that would run over several days. 

Terengganu state executive committee member Ghazali Taib claimed participation would be voluntary, adding "Transgender women are part of our society... They are our responsibility." 

Taib went on, telling AFP, "The government's concept is not (to) force. (We) give them a path to make the best choices for their lives." 

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Malaysia still has strong laws that punish its LGBT+ community, with homosexuality illegal in civil law. Under sharia law, it is illegal for men to "pose as women", making harassment and persecution of trans women a regular occurrence.

Many LGBT+ activists have spoken out against the program, including the co-founder of Justice for Sisters -- a legal fund that assists trans women standing up for their rights -- Thilaga Sulathireh.

Sulathireh claimed the program could have adverse effects on Terengganu's trans community saying, "If you ask someone not to be themselves that will have an adverse impact on the health and well-being of the person".

In a Facebook post, Malaysian trans activist Nisha Ayub detailed the many issues, asking that officials first talk to the trans community.

"Please talk to the community... not the people that don't understand us as we are the [sic] one that is living in this body.

"As I'm writing this," Ayub continued, "it makes me so emotional thinking of the future of the Trans community here in Malaysia in the future.

"We Trans People are just people that are also human that have feelings, emotions and dreams just like everyone. We are not a problem... we don't harm anyone and yet we are discriminated in so many ways just because we are being truthful to ourselves."

In June 2017 Reuters reported a "contest" run by health authorities on "how to prevent homosexuality and transgenderism".

This is also not the first time the state of Terengganu has attempted to run an anti-LGBT+ program. Back in 2011 it was reported that the state was sending effeminate boys to a "boot camp" in order to change their behaviour.

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