Author: Keziah Shamma Mahendran
Editor: Kishan Selvaraju
Photo: Diversity Malaysia
BANGI, 22 June- Netizens were displeased as Bersatu senator, Datuk Razali Idris urges the Malaysian government to set up new detention centres, that provides LGBTQ+ “recovery treatments”.
In the public statement he made addressing the issue, he claimed that the treatment while being detained is to “cure” LGBTQ+s, especially those that are “behaving outrageously” on social media that seems to be harassing and challenging government authorities.
“We recommend that education on LGBTQ+ should be started at school level so that students that are exposed to the symptoms of such a lifestyle, which leads to free sex, damage to family and community institutions that eventually contributes to the spread of HIV infection can be counselled and avoided from following such lifestyle” he reasoned.
Following the statement, a discourse among local Twitter users erupted, on how the government is stepping up their attacks on the LGBTQ+ people in Malaysia although no proper measures were taken by the authorities to curb the rising issue of sexual grooming and sexual assaults in educational institutions with the #MakeSchoolASaferPlace movement trending across social media, as Malaysian students urged authorities to take action against the abusers, the majority of whom were educators.
Proper sex education is to be prioritised, says Twitter users as this new measure to “lead LGBTQ+ people to the right path” further proves that in Malaysia, HIV "key populations" have been stigmatised as a result of a lack of sex education and a conservative mindset.
In this sense, key populations refers to transgender people, drug users, sex workers, and gay men.
“Sex Ed/Making schools safer/Firing pedo teachers - X, Conversion therapy and the dangers about LGBT - ✓ , No wonder Malaysia is going backwards.” comments Twitter user @prasys, completely infuriated by lack of prioritization on proper sex education and the demonization of LGBTQ+ in the country.
Another Twitter user, @uryellowhoe commented, “the only reason why HIV is prevalent in homosexuals is because Malaysia literally ignores them, sheds no funds for inclusive sex-ed or healthcare. But where do the funds go?? conversion therapy. If you really cared about statistics you’d recognize the real issue”
Majority of local Twitter users believe that instead of denigrating the LGBTQ+ community and forcing them to change their identity, recognizing that the lack of sex education in Malaysia and how treating it as taboo exposes children to sexual abuse as well as increases the chances of the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
In an effort to educate people on the importance of sex education in Malaysia, Twitter user @sarahwarou tweeted, “I knew it but i’m not surprised. The first thing that comes to homophobes' mind on LGBT is that it is only a sex-crazed community and are HIV carriers. This is why Malaysia must have sex education about safe sex, sexual identities, difference between sex and sexuality, consent and lots.”
Conversion therapy, according to the United Nations, is unethical, unscientific and a form of torture as it adds to the stereotype of LGBTQ+ people as abnormal or immoral. It also dehumanises them, making them more vulnerable to violence and rejection in a community.