Malaysia’s deputy education minister has made a po-faced response to last week’s tongue-in-cheek protest, National Wear V-Neck Day.
The event was held last Monday to highlight the ridiculousness of ‘gay guidelines’ warning parents about signs that their kids are gay – including V-neck tops – that were presented at an event attended by the deputy education minister last month.
‘It should not be a joking matter,’ Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said, Malaysian newspaper The Star reports.
Puad made clear in the interview that he is serious about preventing the ‘spread’ of LGBT behaviour in schools. ‘It is not prevalent in school yet but preventive action is needed to ensure that it does not spread among students,’ he said.
When asked why he believes it is so important to ‘prevent’ LGBT people he said:
‘There are two reasons: it is the biggest cause of HIV after drugs. It also causes a lot of social problems such as broken marriages. That is why we need to nip it in the bud.’
Paud said that in order to ‘prevent’ this behaviour he wants to raise parents’ awareness. ‘Many parents don’t even know what the terms mean,’ he said.
Although Paud said the education ministry are not intending to ‘punish’ LGBT students, he said in the interview with The Star that he believes ‘ex-gay cures’ work. He said:
‘We in the Ministry of Education look at this LGBT issue seriously, and all we wish to do is to educate people, parents especially, on how to overcome this issue, how to prevent it as well as early corrective measures.’
In another article, The Star spoke to two Malaysians who had been bullied at school by classmates who assumed they were gay. The article also quoted clinical psychologist Vizla Kumaresan who said:
‘The Ministry is sending out a message of hate and intolerance and can have no good effect for those in the community. It also promotes homophobia.’