Malaysia Makes Gays Invisible
UPDATE: The Malaysian government is now denying that it will ban gay characters, although the Information Minister said he “however, reserves the right to select content suitable for the general public as Malaysia is a multi-racial, religious and cultural country.”
Supporters of LGBT rights have become much more active in Malaysia during the past few years. The topic has been discussed more in the media and particularly younger Malaysians, who are part of international youth culture, have increasingly become more tolerant and accepting of LGBT people.
Hence, a backlash.
The Malaysian government wants to ban any gay or ‘effeminate’ people from TV. Any shows or episodes of shows with any of these characters cannot be shown. So, no ‘Glee’ for Malaysian kids then.
No movies with gay characters either.
Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz said he wants to ‘curb the influence of the LGBT community.’
Malaysia, like all South-East Asian countries, in fact like many countries, has beloved stars who certainly are ‘effeminate.’ So D’Cruz was pressed by The Star newspaper to explain how his directive would effect programs and TV shows hosted by men who appear effeminate — he said they can still go on, “because they are born this way.” This is extremely ironic given how the lyrics of Lady Gaga’s song was censored in Malaysia last year.
The government also appears to have bought in wholesale to the ‘pray away the gay’ idea. Speaking at an education seminar last week, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told the audience the government has set money aside to fight “sexual orientation disorders like LGBT.” He said:
I believe that through an effective counseling approach, we will be able to curb this negative phenomenon from spreading in our community.
Last year, it was discovered that one state government was sending boys off to a boot camp to learn “masculine behavior.”
Two Malaysian states have moved to enact laws similar to those in Russia which ban LGBT groups and last year a ‘sexuality festival’ was banned. Seksualiti Merdeka had been held since 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, and was organized by a coalition of Malaysian NGOs.
Photo credit: Seksualiti Merdeka