Khartini Slamah (2)

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[00:00:00] This recording was made at the second the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:08] My name is Kartini icon. Currently in Islam, I'm from Malaysia, I work with the Asia Pacific network of sex workers. I'm also the founder of the Asia Pacific transgender network. So in terms of my work, or my organization, we work with sex workers that is male, female, and transgender. In Asia Pacific. So that is my work. So what we do is that normally, is we do more advocacy work, advocating for rights of sex workers. Under Asia, and the past week, we work we have 21 focal points. In Asia Pacific, yeah. That is what it is. We, we do provide training, skills, the skills for sex workers, and we didn't call potential new leaders, the skills to speak for themselves, rather than someone speak on your behalf. So that is what we normally do. So in a lot of the advocacy is focusing on saying that sex work is work. Yeah, we also talking about rights to treatment, health, and right to education, housing and many other rights. Yeah, so I think a lot of sex workers are demanding for equal rights, not special rights, you know, like any other citizens. So that is what we demand. [00:01:45] to sacrifice include privacy. [00:01:48] Yeah. Yeah. Because, because when you talk about right, the single right, or privacy, because, but sometimes when you are sex workers, you know, it's very difficult. You know, a lot of people try to Harris you, they know that your sex workers, sometimes it's very difficult, you know, sometimes to be yourself. Yeah, it's difficult because when someone knows that you're a sex workers, they tend to bullied you. They tend to use it against you. Yeah. So that is why when you talk about your privacy, I mean, you're even if you are xx workers, if you want to find another job, you find difficult because people tend to use your past life against you. Yeah. So for sex workers is not an easy life. Yeah. But because of the stigma and discrimination, or day to day, we become tough. We sex workers need to be tough in our life, like myself being a transgender. Yeah, it's a double stigma. being transgender is already a stigma and being a sexual disease in other. So we need to be taught because of what how people treated us and the public or even in our families. Make us you know, we need to be tough. That is why sometimes you we are fast in terms of why our trend is very aggressive. It is not because the way how people treated us make we do we behave in sexually. [00:03:10] Yes. And do you think that sex workers have always had this problem, irrespective of the effects of, [00:03:18] you know, occupying country's historical time? [00:03:24] Yeah, I mean, we talk about sex work, [00:03:27] is the oldest profession when you talk about sex work. And if you look, I mean, every country they are sex workers, you know, even a Muslim country also they are sex rotors, but a lot of countries doesn't acknowledge the existence of sex workers now. And as I said, because you come from a Muslim country, there's no sex with us. A lot of them are still in the denial stage. Yeah. But in reality, we know the sex workers exists. So we I come from from a Muslim country, especially when you talk about legalization. It's just like every advocate for legalization. It's like digging your own grave. Yeah. It's not easy. I think it is the same also in a conservative Christian country is a thing. You know, it's not different than a Muslim country. So when you talk about legalization now, I don't there are many countries around the world, which is not legalizing. That is why now you're not talking about decriminalization? Yeah. In terms of sex work. [00:04:26] Yeah, so there's no positive. Right? Yeah. Associate. What do you do with protections? It's just the decriminalize. And then you still have to take a look. [00:04:37] Yeah. That is why when again, today that you know it again, I went to one of the session talking about the judge, the judge principle. Talking about rights. Yeah, that's why when I brought up the issue of is not easy. where you come from, from a Muslim country advocating for these rights, especially the LGBT thing? Yeah. Because, like we I come from like Malaysia, we have to know, the opinion of Pablo and the Sharia law. So being an activist is not easy. Let's face it, you know, might be you can advocate on the civil law, but not under Sharia. Because, like Maria come from is, you know, the Sharia law. All the law is on the Sharia thing. You know, I think it's very difficult. So I don't think that is fair to say, for us to educate further, might take times, I don't know how long it will take. [00:05:26] It's not easy to Sharia law, is the more scope for people off the streets to take the law into their own hands. [00:05:36] You see [00:05:37] this? I do not question the Quran. I question the people who interbreed interpret the Heidi's You know, this is indeed individual interpretation of the Hadith. I don't question that the Bible or the Quran? Yeah. Because it's clear. But again, when you talk about religion, how people use religion against a particular community, for example, like the transgender, they use that to oppress the transgender. But again, when you talk about religion is always you know, compassion and caring. But that is not being preached by right you are talking about, you know, you should not discriminate people. But again, in reality, there are a lot of religious people who discriminate people like us, the transgender community or other communities. I think that should not happen. You know, I won't be like, I believe that all transgender women do believe in in faith. Now I need slam on Christian, but because of how the disc, I mean, discrimination. The thing to say is that, you know, transgender, do not believe in religion. Why are they saying that? Assuming that we don't believe in religion? Yeah. [00:06:47] Yes. So some deeply religious people. Yeah, [00:06:50] sex workers. Yeah. Well, yeah, this is what it is, I think, all these moral issues, you know, [00:06:55] so you don't get support from other religions or some other religious sex worker? [00:06:59] Yeah. Even if they go the support is more of, you know, trying to change us to save us. But the thing is that by saving us, it doesn't solve the whole problem. You know, my go hungry. Yeah. Yeah. That is right. A lot of organization to try to see the sex workers. And again, you know, that is why when you talk about involved in sex with a lot of donors, trying to give a sewing machine, trying to give us what we call beats hair dryers or what we don't need that. Yeah. Because why is only given all this thing. What we need is that, you know, the law that criminalize us is a we don't need to be saved. We need to be saved from the police. Who misuse their power. Yeah. And the state's over clerics. Yeah. [00:07:52] who are persecuted. Yeah. [00:07:53] Yes. Because who we are, you know, that is, I mean, happening everywhere. [00:08:01] Uh, you did point out that, that it's about your rights, about as a person [00:08:09] as a human being, but sometimes we are not being treated as a human being, you know, we are being treated like worse than animal. Yeah. I mean, that is why when I feel you know, like, why are they being treated like that, so bad, is a unreal human being, you know, [00:08:27] and your case for sex work is one, you're a human being. And two, if you do that, for your living, under you would hope that you would get medical care. Because you needed it. Like anybody else would, yes, or, or whatever. Other things that you housing, yoga, yoga, car, [00:08:51] housing, insurance, jobs, employment, you know, any, like any other citizen is they're the rights to everything. I think that we, as a sex workers [00:09:03] should have the same rights. I was at a session this morning about elderly lesbian, so it would apply to elderly perhaps. But they went through the Carter principles and looked at specific principles that they felt applied, particularly to them. Oddly enough. I mean, you mentioned housing and how they also apply to us. Yeah. All the specific ones have been right to justice, I would guess, and access to the courts and all that sort of [00:09:35] stuff, even opinion, expression, or even organizing, [00:09:39] organizing. Yeah, absolutely. Which, of course, is what's often denied workers to organize as well, isn't it? [00:09:46] Yeah, I mean, even the transgendered of the tokenize themselves, because like back home, my experience before, when we form up an organization, yeah, this is that we will be back from organizing this is that we are creating more of our species, and in more involved sex work. But that is not our main objective, the main objective of warming up with the association organization, was to bring all the transgender women together to understand what is our issues or problems and sharing the kind of things? Yeah, but the perception of the religious people think that we are creating more, and I think we are trying to recruit more people become a transgender, which is not true. You can't force someone to become who she doesn't want to be, for example, you can put someone to become lesbian to become gay, or to become a transgender you can, it is, you know, a natural born in that person. So for me the way I come from, again, you see, that's why when you talk about this a holistic thing, you need to look at this education system because it's been taught in school. Yeah. So a lot of parents cannot cope with their son, who is different. That is why a lot of a lot of times, when you see a parents seems to discriminate, or even in within the family description, the son who is different, and again, because the belief is always that, you know, it's always like, you're when you're a boy, you become a man. So there's no other gender. So it's very difficult sometimes when you you don't have a family support. Yeah, that is why also sometimes that's why the transgender women tend to be with safe to be with the on community and involved in sex work, because the job option is very limited, and people don't trust us with the job.

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