As a transgender woman growing up in Brunei, Zoe saw the country’s slide toward conservatism from an early age, so plans to introduce strict new Islamic laws this week came as no surprise. The 19-year-old, who was born male but identified as female from early childhood, is now awaiting the outcome of her asylum application in Canada after fleeing her country late last year. “Even before Sharia law, LGBT+ people could be prosecuted under civil law,” Zoe told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which is identifying her by only one name for her protection. “I’ve always been scared of living my life openly in Brunei. I still am. I still think about how I present myself, because I was conditioned to survive.” Brunei, a Muslim-majority former British protectorate with a population of about 400,000, is due to implement Sharia laws from April 3, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with the death penalty, and theft with amputation. The laws, elements of which were first adopted in 2014, could see LGBT+ people whipped or stoned to death for same-sex activity. Some aspects of the laws will apply to non-Muslims. “I knew it was going to happen,” said Zoe, who hopes to one day… Read full this story
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