Hermaphrodites make progress in Malaysia

Like most expats in SE Asia I have a lot of things to worry about when I wake up in the mornings: there are late bills that need to be paid, problems at the office to be sorted out, the leaky roof that needs to be fixed (always a perennial problem that in Indonesia!), as well as work permits and immigration documents to be renewed. The list goes on.

But there’s one thing that I’ve never doubted when I pummel the alarm clock with a clenched fist at seven o’ clock on a Monday morning: and that is if I am a man or a woman.

This is not the case though for Asia’s hermaphrodites. Because for these poor blighters life is never-ending confusion: when they get out of bed they don’t even know whether to shave their faces or wax their legs!

So it’s good to see that the Malaysian government is gonna make life a bit more easy for them. According to one Malaysian lifestyle website:

Hermaphrodites in the country are allowed to undergo sex change surgery to turn them into the sex which they are comfortable with said Women and Family Development Ministry parliamentary secretary, Chew Mei Fun.

She said hermaphrodites can choose which sex is more dominant in their physical body before deciding on the option of such surgery.

Replying to points raised by MPs during the Committee Stage of the Budget 2006, she said at this juncture has not compiled the number of hermaphrodites in the country yet.

She was responding to Fadilah Yusof (BN - Petrajaya) who suggested a separate gender category for hermaphrodites in identification card (IC).

He said such a move would also allow the ministry to compile and keep track of the number of hermaphrodites in the country.

Fadilah said once the hermaphrodites reach puberty, would enable them to decide which sex that they are comfortable or dominant in them.

"Through doctors' verification, they can indicate to the National Registration Department that they are more inclined to become a male or female and be placed under the "doubtful hermaphrodites" category", he said.

And this from one of the most conservative country's in the region. It’s a funny old world, innit?


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