Malaysians Fight Government’s Anti-Gay Guide With V-Neck Shirts
The v-neck can do a lot to flatter the figure, but can it also be an instrument for fighting anti-gay prejudice? The answer, it seems, is yes.
Last week, local education authorities in Penang, Malaysia issued a pamphlet during a seminar, one of several to be held up and down the country, that included ways to spot gay children, many of them relying on offensive stereotypes such as male youths carrying large bags and liking to show off a muscular body with tight v-neck sleeveless shirts.
Now, individuals and businesses have decided to fight back in irreverent and interesting ways, such as by organizing a “National Wear V-Neck Day.”
I love wearing V necks. Now they’re being discriminated [against]. So are my friends. Lets wear v-necks to show our love for v-necks and to support our friends.
Share and spread the message. We don’t tolerate bullies and stereotyping. Definitely do not tolerate the fact that our friends are being treated like criminals.
Lets show people that we could actually accept each other’s differences and not prosecute.
The event is to be held on October 1 and has had a strong response, with more than 1,000 people saying that they will participate.
Free Biryani Meals to Fight Prejudice Anyone?
This isn’t the only protest the anti-LGBT guidance has provoked. Some are choosing to fight it, and improve business, by offering a free meal.
Calling the pamphlet “ridiculous,” Herukh and Kubhaer Jeswant, owners of the Fierce Curry House, decided to give out free biryani meals to the first 15 men who walked through their doors wearing a v-neck or carrying a man-bag. They promoted the offer on Facebook. It proved so popular they have decided to extend the promotion.
Government Denies Involvement in Anti-LGBT Guidance
The Malaysian government has denied it was involved in issuing the guidance, with a spokesperson reportedly saying, “Contrary to media reports, the government has not produced any guidelines regarding individuals’ sexuality, nor does it endorse them. They were produced by private organizations, who are not affiliated with the government.”
All well and good except that the country’s deputy education minister has admitted he officiated the seminar — though he declined to comment on the “guidance” itself. Furthermore, this so-called guidance was given out in coordination with the Putrajaya Consultative Council of Parents and Teachers Association. That government officials are trying to pretend this matter has little to do with them rings hollow when, at the very least, they have oversight in how teachers should be dealing with the treatment of LGBT youths.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the teacher’s union that issued the guidance has said the initiative was entirely positive and not meant to marginalize, with event coordinator Hasnul Hadi Abdullah Sani reportedly saying, “We never meant any harm. There was no bad intention (when we organised the seminar). We were just doing this for the good of society and the nation,” before going on to say that these pointers weren’t meant as guidance but rather to help teachers and parents diagnose and tackle the “LGBT problem.”
That the phrase “LGBT problem” is even being used, blaming those subjected to prejudice rather than the intolerance itself, speaks to precisely why this initiative is so deeply flawed and discriminatory.