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Malaysian transsexuals challenge cross-dressing law

Published on Aug 31, 2012 7:20 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Four transsexuals are challenging an Islamic law that bars men from dressing or behaving as women in Muslim-majority Malaysia, saying it is unconstitutional.

The landmark case was heard on Thursday at the Seremban high court, just south of Kuala Lumpur, where the four claimed the Sharia law of the state of Negeri Sembilan infringed on their rights enshrined in the federal constitution.

Homosexuality and transsexual lifestyles remain taboo and are considered a social and moral ill by many in Malaysia, where sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Mr Aston Paiva, lawyer for the four, told AFP Friday the constitution protects "the right to live in dignity and not be punished for what you are born as, including race and gender".

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