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No IDAHO in Malaysia due to ‘security concerns’

Activists think a LGBT rally in the current political climate in Malaysia would be unwise
Seksualiti Merdeka organisers outside court in March 2012

LGBT rights activists in Malaysia say they will not be holding a IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia - event next week because of ‘security concerns’.

The international rally against homophobia and transphobia is happening all over the world on Thursday 17 May, with events in the Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Morocco, China (too name but a few) and for the first time in Burma.

But the organisers of Seksualiti Merdeka, the sexual minorities festival that was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, 2009 and 2010 but was banned by the police in 2011, have decided that in the current political climate in Malaysia it would be unwise to hold an LGBT rally.

‘Seksualiti Merdeka has decided not to organise an IDAHO event in Malaysia at the moment because of security concerns,’ Jerome Kugan, one of the organisers of the festival, told Gay Star News.

Kugan said that since the banning of Seksualiti Merdeka last November ‘there has been a rising wave of threats made against the LGBT community by the government and certain religious organisations, including an anti-LGBT rally held at a local university recently.’

Although Kugan said the situation for LGBT people in Malaysia shouldn’t be exaggerated and the country is ‘still largely peaceful and tolerant of LGBTs’ following allegations of police brutality at a recent pro-democracy and anti-corruption rally, Bersih 3.0, they have have decided to support IDAHO online only.

Seksualiti Merdeka organisers are attending Cambodia ASEAN Pride Week next week, joining forces with LGBT rights groups in the other South East Asian nations.

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