MICHAELA MERTZ WRITES – Ugly controversy erupted after the release of an article in a leading Malaysian Newspaper reporting on characteristics that explain how one might identify members of the LGBT community. Some of the characteristics included assumptions that lesbian women “tend to hug each other, hold hands, and belittle men,” while gay men are “identifiable by beards, branded clothes, and going to the gym.” This ridiculous article was published in a reputable newspaper known as Sinar Harian, and featured allegedly stereotypical qualities of LGBT people so they can be easily identified.
The article sparked outrage from activists, saying that it is putting lives at risk. Malaysia has strict laws against homosexuality, including a prison sentence of 20 years under a sodomy law, making homosexuality a sensitive topic for the nation. There has already been news of deaths of men and women suspected to be part of the outlawed community. One of the more extreme cases that happened recently was the beating and burning of an 18 year old student by his classmates who said he was a “pondan” or gay man.
A young activist, Arwind Kumar, took to Youtube to address the issues that the newspaper article created for members of the LGBT community. He stated that, “one of the traits of being gay is ‘people that love branded clothes’. Wow. If this is what that is, most of the actors and actresses [in Hollywood] are gay.”
Well, there was that 2005 film ‘Brokeback Mountain’…..
Popular media influencers fall under some of these characteristics too, but it doesn’t mean they’re gay. Formulating a set number of characteristics to describe the whole LGBT community doesn’t make sense and cannot be justified. Kumar ends the video with the comment that, “You have your own sins, focus on your own sins.” Kumar’s message ensures that gay people do no harm to everyday citizens, and people need to start publicly addressing more serious issues than publishing a checklist on how to identify gay people.
Hopefully, no more harm will come to the LGBT community in response to this article. However, the full extent of the damages resulting from this post are still not completely known and what’s already printed ca