M'sian is first transwoman to win US Women of Courage award

Modified 30 Mar 2016, 3:58 am

Prominent transgender rights advocate Nisha Ayub has been awarded with the 2016 International Women of Courage Award.

Nisha was among 14 awardees made up of women from across the globe who received the award by the US Secretary of State John Kerry at the US Department of State in Washington DC yesterday.

The award annually recognises women who have demonstrated "exceptional courage" and leadership advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Nearly 100 women from 60 different countries have been recipients since the inception of the award in 2007.

In her Facebook post last night, Nisha admitted that she was "extremely excited" to be nominated by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur but did not expect to be awarded as there were many others who were nominated.

“It’s truly an honour to receive such international recognition from the United States Of America."

Nisha is also the first transgender woman to be honoured with the award.

“This award is not just for me but it's for all transwomen as it shows that we transwomen are recognised and accepted to be a part of this international award that is for women," she said.

Thanking the transgender community, Nisha also dedicated the award to them.

“Thank you to my beloved community that have allowed me to speak on behalf of them.”

This is not the first time the activist has won an international award. She was also the recipient of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.

Last year, Nisha was assaulted by two men unknown to her on her way to work, sustaining injuries to her ankle and leg.

She, however, affirmed that her work as an advocate "will never stop until my last breath".

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