The Ministry of Education in Malaysia has endorsed guidelines to help parents tell if their children are gay or lesbian.
Malaysiakini reports that the list of ‘symptoms’ for gay men includes stereotypes such as:
- ‘Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes’
- ‘Prefer tight and light-coloured clothes’
- ‘Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out’
The list of ‘warning’ signs for lesbians are less superficial.
Potential lesbians apparently ‘distance themselves from other women… besides their female companions’, ‘like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women’ and ‘have no affection for men’.
The guidelines were launched at a seminar in Penang, a state in northwest peninsula Malaysia, by a parents and teachers association and were endorsed by the Ministry of Education.
Deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi was present at the seminar titled ‘Parenting in addressing the issue of LGBTs’. Similar events have been held in other states across the country.
Malay language newspaper Sinar Harian quotes Puad as saying that parents’ knowledge of the ‘symptoms’ of being gay or lesbian ‘was the best approach to address the spread of such unhealthy phenomenon among students’.
Malaysian human rights activist Clarence Sim said the seminar and the demonization of LGBT people in the country ‘has everything to do with politics’. He told Gay Star News:
‘Of the four states that have held these types of seminars, three are currently governed by opposition parties. The government are trying to portray LGBTs as a threat to Malaysian society and culture/tradition.
‘Since the ban of Seksualiti Merdeka, an annual LGBT awareness event, the Malaysian government has made anti-LGBT its agenda. As we are coming up to a general election soon, it is believed they are trying to win the majority votes by condemning LGBTs.’
Yesterday Gay Star News reported on the homophobic comments of the Vice President of Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia, who said LGBT rights should be excluded from a regional human rights declaration because they ‘contradict the principles enshrined in the religion of Islam’.