Last year an 18-year old student was beaten and burned to death by classmates who said he was a pondan, a colloquial term for a gay man. A 27-year old transgender woman was also attacked with a knife and shot three times three months later.
Now a leading newspaper has published a list purporting to advise readers how to identify potential gay and lesbian people. The stand-out attributes for men are said to be their love of beards (what??), going to the gym not for exercise but to cruise, and branded clothing. Also “their eyes light up when they see handsome men!”
Given that many Muslim clerics and believers wear beards, the first indicator is clearly a piece of nonsense. But it all adds to a growing homophobic rhetoric in a country where the leaders of the Muslim majority are warning that homosexuality is on the increase and there is an urgent need to stop the trend.
Homophobic rhetoric is also evident even in government discourse. The country’s deputy interior minister attacked Walt Disney last year for refusing to cut a gay scene in Beauty and the Beast at the request of the Malaysian censorship board, and a Malaysian health ministry youth video competition called for entries discussing the prevention and consequences of being gay, lesbian or transgender.
Another article on the health ministry’s website, entitled “Why would a person be lesbian?” states that potential causes of women being gay were their decisions to prioritise their careers and believing other women were the only ones who would understand.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... -checklist