A BAN on cross-dressing in one of Malaysia’s states has been overturned for three trans* citizens after they won a challenge in the country’s court of appeal.

The victory has been hailed as a step forward for human rights in the predominantly-Muslism south-east Asian country.

The sharia law that was in place in Negeri Sembilan state was unanimously found to be discriminatory by a three-judge panel, as it failed to recognise men diagnosed with gender identity issues.

The court also said the law deprived trans* people of the right to live with dignity, and that it was “degrading” and “inhumane”.

However, while the court acknowledged that the law helped to prevent homosexual and lesbian activities that led to the spread of HIV, the case — which was an appear of a 2012 ruling from a lower court — “had nothing to do with homosexuality” and was about a medical condition.

Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Department could still appeal against the ruling at Malaysia’s federal court.

Nonetheless, human rights advocates have said the case would have wide implications for trans* people in the country, as it meant other high courts had to follow the ruling if other trans* peopled challenged similar sharia law in other states.

Human Rights Watch says Malaysia is one of the worst countries for trans* people, as they face constant harassment, sexual abuse and arrest by authorities, and the fact that all 13  of its states prohibit Muslim men from dressing as women.

H/T The Guardian

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