Musical with negative portrayal of LGBT people tours Malaysia

'We want to awaken the youths and parents to the issue,' says the director of musical with negative message about LGBT lifestyles

Musical with negative portrayal of LGBT people tours Malaysia
18 February 2013

A musical that shows the ‘negative lifestyle’ of LGBT people, who end-up being struck by lightening and turning straight, is touring Malaysia. 

Director Rahman Adam was asked by the government to stage the musical to tackle the ‘worsening social issue’ of LGBT people in Malaysia, Malaysian Digest reports.

‘I was compelled to do something as an art professional to oppose LGBT issue that has affected our society, including school children,’ said Rahman at a press conference to launch the musical, Sinar Harian reports.

‘We want to awaken the youths and parents to this issue.’

Asmara Songsang (‘Abnormal Desire’) is showing at the national Palace of Culture (Istana Budaya) in Kuala Lumpur on 1 and 2 March and will be taken to all 12 states in Malaysia throughout the rest of this year.

All performances are free and likely funded by the government or an Islamic organization.

The piece of ‘educational’ theatre is the latest effort to ‘tackle’ what the government and Islamic authorities perceive as the ‘spread’ of LGBT people in Malaysia.

Since last summer the education ministry have held 21 seminars across the country for parents and teachers about ‘early intervention’ to ‘cure symptoms of LGBT’ in children.

In a Facebook comment about the musical, one Malaysia LGBT rights activist said:

‘This is a bunch of guys wearing make up and putting on a show with singing and dancing, right? Don’t you see the irony too?’

Members of Seksualiti Merdeka, the sexuality minorities rights festival that was banned by the government in 2011, are considering going to the musical wearing glitter and gold.

Seksualiti Merdeka co-founder Jerome Kugan said he felt ‘disbelief’ about the news the musical was being staged. 

‘I think it shows that the anti-LGBT movement is gaining more momentum in Malaysia,’ he told Gay Star News.

‘A lot of young people struggling with issues of gender and sexuality feel a lot of guilt and pressure to deny their impulses due to religious compulsion. It’s obvious from the title, the narrative and language of the show that it’s aimed at Malay Muslim youths.

‘It certainly doesn’t give young LGBTs any sense of personal empowerment at all and I think some might be influenced by something like this to go deeper into the closet of shame.’ 

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