Human Rights Issue for Transsexual UK Visa Application

Published: 07/12/2009

A transsexual Malaysian woman and her British husband are fighting to be able to stay in the UK.
Fatine Young and her husband Ian Young were married in the UK in June 2009 upon obtainment of a certificate of approval (COA) from the UK Border Agency and live in Sponden, Derby. Mrs Young, 36, started living as a woman at the age of 17 although is yet to complete genital surgery and initially entered the UK on a six-month tourist visa after having met Mr Young while he was working in Kuala Lumpur.
Mrs Young has had her application to stay in the UK rejected twice, firstly because the application had an unacceptable passport photograph and secondly because it had been submitted after her visa had expired.
Although the reasons seem largely administrative, the decision may have a far-reaching affect on her human rights. Mrs Young has made her concerns about returning to Malaysia if her visa is rejected a third time will lead her to be jailed in her home country as her relationship would be considered homosexual, which is illegal in Malaysia.
The case has gained extensive media coverage, making her situation even more visible in Malaysia, with Muslim leaders stating that she should expect to face punishment if she returns wearing women’s clothes, or if she attempts to re-register her marriage.
As Mr and Mrs Young have made a third visa application under the grounds that they have a right to family life under the Human Rights Act, the UK Border Agency have confirmed she is entitled to seek UK residency, although it must be applied for from her home country.

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