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16,000 parents and teachers told to 'curb' LGBT behavior in Malaysia

Malaysian deputy education minister says LGBT behavior in children is 'like a disease'
Malaysian deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi

Malaysia's education ministry held 21 seminars over the last six months about how to 'curb' LGBT behavior, reaching 16,000 parents and teachers.

Deputy education minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the ministry would be holding more seminars across the country, The Star reports.

At a seminar last week in Seberang in northwestern Malaysia, Puad said:

'It is like a disease but it can be cured with early intervention.'

The first seminar held in Penang last September caused widespread international condemnation for issuing a list of supposedly gay characteristics, including wearing V-necked shirts for boys, for parents to identify gay children.

Criticism from inside and outside Malaysia did not stop the education ministry from supporting more seminars around the country.

Thilaga Sulathireh, one of the organizers of Seksualiti Merdeka, the LGBT rights festival that was banned by the police in 2011, told Gay Star News that the government targets children rather than adult LGBT activists.

'With children you can tell them things and do things and you can get away with it,' Sulathireh said.

'So a lot of the government's efforts are focused on schools. And we have no access to schools so we can't go in and tell them it's ok to be gay.'

Sulathireh added that schools and universities are becoming 'breeding grounds for homophobia'.  

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