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International Women’s Day: Recognizing One Woman’s Fight for LGBT Rights in Malaysia

by Hayley Miller March 08, 2016

In honor of International Women’s Day, HRC Global is spotlighting women who are advancing equality around the globe, including Lyana Khairuddin, a self-described "HIV & AIDS advocate" from Malaysia. Lyana, a bisexual, Muslim woman who served as an HRC global fellow last fall, is working in Malaysia to fight discrimination and the spread of HIV & AIDS in her country.

“Navigating activism around LGBT rights is an uphill struggle,” she says. “There is a multidimensional complexity to discussing these issues, especially when there is an increasingly restricted space for expression. “

Lyana's work in Malaysia is not easy. Many human rights challenges are plaguing Malaysia, including the right to gender expression and unfortunate incidences of violence and discrimination.

“Our judiciary and politicians seem to view human rights nonchalantly,” she continued. “This divisiveness and moral-policing is now used as a tool to further divide and conquer the public.”

While she shared her personal experiences with our community, Lyana was also able to discuss HIV prevention efforts with HRC staff and learn more about advocacy and awareness around PrEP. She also consulted with the HRC Foundation on how to engage faith-based organizations to embrace the LGBT community.

As Lyana continues her work in Malaysia, today offers an opportunity to recognize her and so many other women who are dedicated and committed to the LGBT community, including Geena Rocero, Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton. Thanks to their tireless advocacy, LGBT equality is progressing both at home and abroad.

This International Women’s Day, HRC is proud to stand in support of women worldwide. Sadly, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face disproportionate levels of violence at the hands of both strangers and intimate partners.  A recent U.N. human rights report  noted that LGBT people are at a disturbingly elevated risk of homicidal violence, highlighting the increased risk that lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face because of gender-based discrimination. Another study by the Human Rights Campaign and the Trans People of Color Coalition estimates that transgender women in the United States face 4.3 times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of women. 

Hayley Miller
Hayley Miller


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