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Trans woman facing deportation to Malaysia

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  1. Typical UK fudge – the Home Office grants permission to marry and the UK Border Agency wants to then deport. It’s just now a credible, or creditable, argument to deport someone to a country where they would be in danger and then say she can apply to come back to the UK. Will the Border Agency guarantee her safety while she is in her country of origin? Somehow I don’t think so!!
    Shame on the UK!!!

  2. Fatine could face problems in Malaysia. The present leader of the main opposition party, Anwar Ibrahim, has been in jail on allegations of sodomy and has another charge pending against him. Whether the authorities actually do take action against “ordinary” gay people, I don’t know. There is, surprisingly, a fair degree of tolerance for trans people. From the story, it seems to be the usual case of British bureaucracy gone official and not using common sense. For God’s sake, if they are legally married, why should she be expelled from the country?

  3. theotherone 7 Dec 2009, 6:43pm

    typical of the Immigration service seeking to meet targets by picking on Soft Targets but…isn’t it supriseing how often these soft targets are Queer?

  4. Too right about the soft targets. The UK Border Agency meet their targets by picking on the innocent while the fraudsters stay here. Fatine’s married – she should stay here.

  5. Meant to add that they’re not just queer, they’re often female too.

  6. theotherone 7 Dec 2009, 10:39pm

    I knew someone who worked as an Interpreter in the Boarder Agency and he often said that he saw obvious fraudsters being left allone while people traumatized by torture where deported.

  7. This is from a Malaysian website:

    http://yesboleh.blogspot.com/2009/11/nightmare-of-malaysian-transsexual.html

    You can see that Fatine’s reception in Malaysia would not be particularly pleasant.

    I have to say that I do feel rather uneasy that she and her husband have apparently sold their story to The Sun. It doesn’t change my views on the rightness of her case but it makes me uneasy, all the same.

    jane.

  8. Pumpkin Pie 7 Dec 2009, 11:31pm

    Interesting that she doesn’t want any surgery. So, even though Britain would be miles better for her to live in than Malaysia, she’d still face discrimination from our government for not surgically altering her body to their specifications.

  9. Jean-Paul Bentham 8 Dec 2009, 4:23am

    They are married. What’s the problem?? Come on!! Bureaucratic red-tape at its worse. Makes me so mad.

    Jane, as a Canadian, I don’t understand what you mean about how their story being sold to the “Sun” makes you feel uneasy.

    The power of the Boarder Agency in the UK is what makes me uneasy.

  10. Jean-Paul, I just have a feeling about this story that there’s a lot we don’t know. There seems to be a company involved named “Sell My Story” and The Sun has bought it and there’s a paid appearance on “This Morning”. I also don’t understand how they could marry (I mean, as opposed to a civil partnership) when Fatine appears not to have Malaysian identity papers in her new name or chosen gender, that puzzles me, after all two British people in that situation would not be able to marry, does the “incorrect passport photo” relate to that?

    Don’t misunderstand me. I was not at all defending the actions of the Home Office or the Borders Agency, not at all, I know just how obtuse they can be. It’s simply that there are things I don’t understand in the story.

  11. Jennifer Hynes 8 Dec 2009, 9:34am

    @Pumpkin Pie: The UK government doesn’t discern between those trans people who do and those who don’t have reconstructive surgery. You can be legally recognised in the gender of your choice regardless of your genitalia. After jumping through their laborious hoops of course. I know a couple of trans women that have, and a couple of trans women that haven’t, and they don’t seem to have any problems with officialdom.

    @Jean-Paul Bentham: Over here, The Sun is a tabloid with a less than salubrious reputation. It is not at all like the Toronto Sun for example. To sell your story to them is considered by many to pander to the lowest of journalistic (and I use the term loosely in connection with The Sun) integrities.

    Have to say though, my first thought on reading this is they will have to move now. I grew up in Derby and to be honest, it’s not exactly a hotbed of queer tolerance. But as regards to the selling of their story, perhaps they are trying to raise money for a legal fund? Just a thought…

  12. Pink News apparently has it wrong, they have entered into a civil partnership (at least, that’s what the Malaysian Bar Association is reporting) and not a marriage.

  13. So a civil partnership doesn’t give the same right of abode in the UK to a foreign national partner that a marriage does? If she was a mail order bride then the piece of paper from the registry office would give her all the right to stay. But two people in a genuine relationship are given the run around.

    And it is apalling that the UK would deport somebody to a place where they would be unsafe.

  14. If they’d done things in the right order they’d be fine and wouldn’t be in this situation. I live abroad and had my CP three years ago, if i wanted to take my wife back to the UK i’d have to get the correct visa for her, pay the fee’s etc etc, we would be treated exactly like any straight married couple.
    She clearly had no problem in Malaysia when they met,they could have had a CP at the British Embassy in Vietnam like i had to do and then gone to the UK with the necessary paper work in order to stay. The rules are there for everyone, they knew exactly what they were doing!
    All the details for UK citizens are easy to find on the British Embassy web sites – same rules apply for “mail order brides”.

  15. Pumpkin Pie 8 Dec 2009, 4:28pm

    @Pumpkin Pie: The UK government doesn’t discern between those trans people who do and those who don’t have reconstructive surgery. You can be legally recognised in the gender of your choice regardless of your genitalia. After jumping through their laborious hoops of course. I know a couple of trans women that have, and a couple of trans women that haven’t, and they don’t seem to have any problems with officialdom.

    Really? Well, that’s great news, then. I wasn’t aware it was possible. Are they regarded as their “transitioned” gender for the purposes of things like changing/restrooms and other sorts of men/women-only things, or does this recognition only apply to dealings with the government?

  16. “However, Fatine has had her application to stay in the country rejected twice. One application was rejected due to an incorrect passport photo and the other was rejected because it was submitted after her visa expired.”

    This appears to be the crux of the matter and I would be very suspicious that an immigration agency that is well known to have many highly prejudiced case-workers, and others who have decided cases on the basis of sexual favours, has engineering this situation. What, in this context, is a “wrong photograph”? And why was the second application late, and by how much?

    On the point raised about selling one’s story to the Sun, much as I deplore Murdoch and much Sun behaviour, the paper did handle a recent story of a transsexual child very well indeed. And if, when a person desperately needs helpful publicity, money for legal expenses, and perhaps some influence behind them, the Sun provides all those, and does the story proud, it’s difficult to fault the choice.

    Legally it shouldn’t matter, in this context whether they have a marriage or a civil partnership, but if she wanted to be able to marry in the UK she should have been eligible, according to the law, for a Gender Recognition Certificate, if she jumped through the hoops. She uses hormones, is over 18, and has lived in role for more than 2 years and seems to intend to do so permanently.

    If she had problems with that it would be interesting to know. I have heard of some suspicion being exercised against trans women from south-east asia, partly on the grounds that so many are arriving that trafficking for sex work is suspected. That could easily be a thinly veiled racist presumption.

  17. I was impressed that the Malaysian Bar Association (see the article in post no. 13) has taken such a firm stand in support of Fatine and against apparent abuse of the Law by their Immigration Minister. Very commendable.

  18. Pumpkin Pie:
    “Are they regarded as their “transitioned” gender for the
    purposes of things like changing/restrooms and other sorts
    of men/women-only things, or does this recognition only
    apply to dealings with the government?”

    That’s a sticky point. The law says both; that it is for all purposes (definitely not just government) but then it gives a number of exceptions, and does its best to ensure that people can know in order to enforce those. And a major bill currently before parliament, supposedly extending equality, seems to say that we (post-op or not) can be excluded from all sorts of facilities if it is commercially beneficial to do so, or even if those in charge think others wish it that way. This is because those in charge of the bill have not the faintest idea of what they are supposed to be doing, and have ignored advice.

    Obviously if they don’t know, people cannot discriminate, though. And, whilst many transgender people wish to be identified as different, as queer, or a third gender, for transsexual people, and those who have left transsexuality behind, who need, very intensely, to be, and be seen as their sex of identity, such barriers and threats are unacceptable. Therefore many have emigrated.

  19. Pumpkin Pie 8 Dec 2009, 8:13pm

    Thanks for the info, oatc. It’s good to hear that equality exists between trans people regardless of surgery. But, it’s also very depressing to hear exactly what it is that they’re equal in. This stuff is just awful. I knew that the UK wasn’t particularly progressive in trans issues, but this is disgraceful.

  20. Fatine, if you do need to fight it out in Malaysia, why not ask Karpal Singh to take the case on, I’m sure you know who he is.

  21. Anyone who watches the “UK Border Patrol” show on some fatuous daytime TV show will see the repeated situation of immigration officers having to release known illegal immigrants not just once, but again and again, because of this Labour Governments farcical rulling that they cannot be returned back to their own countrie because they have no formal identification.

    Sorry, “Soft target” is bollocks. If they don’t belong here, they should go. No passport? Well here’s a fake one, like the one you came in on. If your country has a problem with your sexuali8ty, then maybe you should have made an official request for asylum before illegally slipping into the UK and poncing off our resources.

    Sorry. Zero sympathy. Now f_ck off.

  22. Pumpkin Pie 9 Dec 2009, 7:23am

    Oh, it’s that RobN guy, again. Were you ever human or have you always been a spiteful little wretch?

  23. Pumpkin: Who you calling little? I’m 6’4″ and 220lbs and can still kick seven bells out of the likes of you.

    As for spiteful, no, I was fine until I went out with another man.

  24. RobN, she has come in on her own passport, she is in a legal relationship with a British citizen, she is apparently sponging off no-one and her husband is working, her problem is bigotry in her home country. Your problem is your manacled mind, her problem will be solved, yours is beyond treatment.

  25. Pumpkin Pie 9 Dec 2009, 10:50am

    Pumpkin: Who you calling little? I’m 6′4″ and 220lbs and can still kick seven bells out of the likes of you.

    I was referring to your worth as a human being. That’s pretty small. I have no reason to infer anyone’s physical size. Only thugs resort to pissing contests.

    As for spiteful, no, I was fine until I went out with another man.

    Oh, I remember the story! It was a while back, so correct me if I’m wrong about anything… You accepted you were gay at about the age of 30, acted like a complete slut and slept with as many guys as possible. Horrified at your own debauchery, you decided to blame all other gay men for making it so easy to make a pig out of yourself. The end.

    Funny, I’m bi – twice as much choice, apparently – and I’ve never felt the need for copious amounts of orgies. Maybe you should stop blaming the rest of us for your own issues?

    she is apparently sponging off no-one

    I just rolled my eyes when I heard him mention the old “sponging immigrants” bit. Especially seeing as how there was nothing in the article about that. He sees the world how he wants to see it.

  26. Good luck, Fatine.
    The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group might be able to help:
    http://www.uklgig.org.uk/

  27. Comment by Jane — December 8, 2009 @ 7:11 – Jean-Paul, I just have a feeling about this story that there’s a lot we don’t know. There seems to be a company involved named “Sell My Story” and The Sun has bought it and there’s a paid appearance on “This Morning”.

    I’m the owner of the features agency that helped Ian and Fatine sell their story to The Sun. We are called Talk to the Press and specialise in human interest stories.

    I’m not sure what your specific concerns are but if you check out our website, you will see we’ve worked on hundreds of stories about everything from crime to relationships.

    We were glad to help Ian and Fatine raise awareness of their situation. We negotiated them an excellent deal and have helped them manage their media strategy.

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