Malaysia Sends Teens on Masculinity Course

Malaysian authorities this week said they have sent 66 boys between the ages of 13 and 17 who were identified by teachers as being effeminate, on a so-called “self-development” course designed to make them learn more masculine behavior and prevent them from becoming gay or transgender.

From The Associated Press:

The boys between 13 and 17 years old reported Monday for what is officially being called a “self-development course” after their schoolteachers in Terengganu state identified them as students who displayed effeminate mannerisms, said Razali Daud, the state’s education director.

They will undergo religious and motivational classes and physical guidance, Razali said. He declined to give further details.

The camp is meant “to guide them back to the right path in life before they reach a point of no return,” Razali told The Associated Press. “Such effeminate behaviour is unnatural and will affect their studies and their future.”

Razali told the Associated Press that the boys were not made to go to the camp but rather chose to do so. Given that Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, criminalizes homosexuality with up to 20 years in prison this would not seem much of a choice, even if the statute is not uniformly enforced. Transgender people can also be prosecuted under laws that would restrict apparent gender non-conforming behavior.

Razali added: “We can’t force the boys to change, but we want them to know what their choices are in life. Some effeminate boys end up as a transvestite or a homosexual, but we want to do our best to limit this.”

Many gay “cure” programs exist in America under the guise of religious counseling, several of which recommend practicing masculinity alongside aversion therapy as a way to prevent the so-called gender confusion that they say leads to homosexuality.

Needless to say, the results of such courses remain negligible at best and at worst supremely damaging to the children involved, a chief reason why the mainstream medical community has soundly rejected gay “cure” or “reorientation” therapy as it is sometimes known.

That local officials are peddling this kind of bad science fails children in so many respects it is truly heartbreaking. One wonders if the state will also be so kind as to provide the necessary counseling once these young men grow up and begin to live their lives with the scars of the “cure” therapy still haunting them? That was, of course, a rhetorical question.

UPDATE: The Malaysian women’s minister has condemned the move by local officials, saying that it violates child welfare laws and is illegal. Read more here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to brainchildvn.


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Angela Burrow
Angela Burrow6 years ago

This is to "prevent them from becoming gay or transgender"? How moronic are these decision makers? People who are gay or transgender are so from birth, they do not develop these feelings because of external pressure. Yet another way to persecute those who are perceived as being different in society.

Don Go
Don Go6 years ago

*applauds* congratulations, you have taken discrimination to the level of "silly"...

M.E. W.
Mary W6 years ago

The 3 religions state that humans were created in the image of god - a god that is known to be macho, jealous, demanding, and violent. If men are too effeminate their god might not be who he says he is. Perhaps this is why it is so important for men to be 'manly'?

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

What century is this? Where is all this 'peaceful tolerant' religion we're always hearing about? Certainly not in any Muslim country where 7 of them kill LGBT people. Iran has killed 1000s since becoming an 'Islamic Republic'. We can only hope that the 'revolutions' sweeping thru other Islamic countries in the Middle East will see the establishment of true democracies with real freedom of association, speech, religion, & protection of minority rights instead of just more backward Medieval Islamic "Republics" with their attendant oppression of women, gays & religious minorities, & the punishment of free speech & freedom of conscience. Religion is a choice. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is not. At least the women's minister had the courage to speak out against this so that is a hopeful sign there are people with power there who are educated & enlightened. Let's hope there are more & they will speak up & force change for the better.

This is the same country that a few years ago sent a leading politician to prison for being 'accused' of being gay. Of course the right wing Evangelical religionists (they are not Christians) in the US would love for the US to follow the example of Iran, Malaysia & Saudi Arabia et al. Their ideal country would be very little different than these. Makes one wonder why they just don't emigrate to these places that hold such similar intolerant values as they do. Guess they'd miss the grits.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Oh, please. Just like the good ole boy theme, let's beat some masculinity into them.....

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Homophobic scared of their own shadow religious nuts.

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham6 years ago

Being feminine or masculine has nothing to do with being hetrosexual or homosexual. Some VERY feminine men are hetro and some VERY masculine men are homo. People are born either one way or another. Stop being so afraid of peoples differences folks.

Valarie S.
Valarie Snell6 years ago


Fred Hayward
Fred H6 years ago

Wow, Robert F, it takes an indoctrination in feminist (il)logic for you to declare that the greater restrictions which you admit society places upon boys’ behavior is somehow a sign of their privilege.

Has it ever occurred to you that the extra restrictions placed upon boys is actually a sign that sexism is a lot more complex than feminism portrays and men have very serious issues which we neglect at our peril?