Malaysia’s education authorities have caused an online furore by endorsing a set of so-called guidelines to spot gay and lesbian “symptoms.”
According to alternative news site Malaysiakini, these guidelines were launched in a seminar in Penang yesterday by Yayasan Guru Malaysia Bhd and Putrajaya Consultative Council of Parents and Teachers Association.
The guidelines have received the seal of approval from the country’s Ministry of Education.
Here are the guidelines as reported by Malaysiakini:
- Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes;
- Prefer tight and light-coloured clothes;
- Attracted to men; and
- Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out.
- Attracted to women;
- Besides their female companions, they will distance themselves from other women;
- Like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women; and
- Have no affection for men
According to the website, Sinar Harian quoted Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi as saying: “Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups. This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time.”
He was speaking at the seminar in Penang.
Many are upset with the government endorsement and have been voicing their protest via Malaysiakini’s Facebook page. Here’s a snapshot of some of their comments.
“Tai Yan Shan”: "The guidelines are very amusing. And the guideline also shows how bad the gov's gaydar is. Anyway, this is stupid."
“Jonathan Chua”: "On a side note, it would appear that the homophobes are losing to the pro-gay/gay community. I think it would be safe to conclude that the homophobes here aren't very good at reasoning and debating."
“Sarah Alicia”: "Why is there even a need of guidelines?! Why not focus on improving and revising the education system in our beloved country. Eg : revise Moral Education. Let these people live freely, they don't bother us do they?"
“Magdalene Koh”: "It is not wrong to love anyone at all, but the thing is, are people misinterpreting their own love? There can be many types of love, for parents, for friends, maybe it's just that you came to love the person more than the other sex, could it be just more than sisterly or brotherly love, like what many people experience with their best friends? This is just my point of view though.”
LGBT rights and ASEAN
On Monday, the Vice-President of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia Azril Mohd Amin wrote a letter to Malaysiakini strongly suggesting that ASEAN should not include LGBT rights in the human rights declaration being drafted.
He wrote: “Were Asean to endorse such rights in the final declaration, Malaysia as a Muslim-majority country would have to reiterate her strong objections; as such a policy clearly contradicts the principles enshrined in the religion of Islam.”
“The decision to declassify homosexuality as a psychological disease was fairly recently made in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) due to intimidation and lobbying by gay groups and not based on medical or scientific evidence, or even if there were, are drawn from studies that "lack basic research necessities" and often sugar-coated with the language of science,” he added.
See full letter here.