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Newspaper publishes a list of how to spot gay men & lesbians

Malaysian newspapers
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A newspaper in Malaysia has come under fire after it published a list of ways to spot a gay man or a lesbian. Homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim-majority nation and can be punished with 20 years in prison, caning, fines, and deportation for foreigners.

Sinar Harian, the leading Malaysian newspaper, published bullet points for readers to use to spot a gay man or a lesbian. The paper said that gay men have beards, wear brand-name clothing, and go to the gym – not to work out, but to check out other men. It said that gay men’s eyes light up when they see good-looking men.

For lesbians, they said to look out for women who hug each other, hold hands, and disparage men, according to The Guardian.

“There are much more important issues in this country which need to be addressed,” said Malaysian YouTuber Arwind Kumar, who said that the article could “take away lives.” A gay man and a trans woman were recently killed in the country.

“If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a pedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others. How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?”

Kumar took particular issue with beards being included on the list.

“I know a lot of priests, I know a lot ustads [Islamic scholars], I know a lot of really really religious people who love keeping beards,” he said. “Are you trying to say they are gay? That’s how stupid this is.”

Malaysia is one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ countries in the world, according to human rights organizations. In 2015, Human Rights Watch said that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is “pervasive” in the country. The Global Trans Rights Index ranks Malaysia as the second-most anti-trans country in the world.

Outright International notes that not only is homosexuality banned by federal law in the nation, but several states impose extra penalties on Muslim LGBTQ+ people under Sharia law and that the country’s censorship laws have been used to keep LGBTQ+ groups from organizing.

A 2013 poll found that 86% of people in Malaysia believe that homosexuality should not be accepted. Thirty-three percent of Americans said the same that year.

In 2019, four men were caned in Malaysia as part of a crackdown on homosexuality. That same year, Tourism Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi claimed there are no queer or trans people in Malaysia.

In August 2018, police in Kuala Lumpur raided the gay bar Blue Boy — afterward, the Federal Territory ministry claimed the arrests were meant to “stop the spread of LGBTQ culture in society.” That same month, authorities sentenced two women to public caning for “attempted sexual relations.”

In June 2017, the country’s health ministry offered its citizens cash prizes for making anti-LGBTQ+ videos. The following month, a hardline national Muslim group told its 50,000 members to oppose Starbucks for the coffeehouse chain’s pro-LGBTQ +workplace policies. That same year, an 18-year-old boy was beaten with helmets, burned, shot in the groin, and declared brain dead by medical authorities — his classmates had attacked him for being “effeminate.”

Just last year, two men from the British rock band The 1975 kissed on stage during a music festival in Malaysia, which caused the remainder of the festival to be canceled.

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