SIS is saddened to learn of the death of Aleesha Farhana Abdul Aziz so soon after the High Court ruled that she could not live out her life as a woman even after she had undergone a sex reassignment surgery. Aleesha had applied to the court to change her name from Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abdul Aziz to Aleesha Farhana Abd Aziz, but on 18 July 2011 the High Court rejected her application. Aleesha also had applied for the names on her birth certificate and MyKad to be changed to reflect the sex which she regarded as her true self.
SIS finds it difficult to understand the unwillingness of the High Court to recognise the right of transgendered persons to be identified by the sex that they perceive themselves to be. The courts in many Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Kuwait, Iran, have granted transgendered persons the right to choose the sex they most closely identify with. Al-Azhar University in Cairo has also declared a fatwa permitting sex reassignment surgery under certain medical conditions – especially if not consenting to the procedure would lead to dire psychological and emotional consequences for the applicant. It is regrettable that the Malaysian courts have not followed these just and compassionate precedents.
SIS sends its condolences to Aleesha Farhana’s family. Society has already caused them so much pain and suffering. We wish them peace, patience and fortitude in their time of grief, particularly throughout this holy month of Ramadhan.
Acting Executive Director
Sisters in Islam (SIS Forum Malaysia)
LB: This is a reproduction of an article which first appeared here on 2nd August 2011