Malaysia wanted to hold competition for best 'gay prevention' video but good news:7:09 pm - 06/07/2017
Ministry removes ‘gender confusion’, ‘LGBT’ from video contest
PETALING JAYA: The health ministry has agreed to remove the terms “gender confusion” and “LGBT” from a controversial video competition on sexual and reproductive health among adolescents.
This followed a meeting between the ministry and transgender activist Nisha Ayub from the Seed Foundation, a charity working with transgender people.
In a Facebook post today, Nisha said both parties had discussed and agreed on the matter in a “professional manner” which allowed her to see the “genuine interest of the ministry in working with the community”.
“The ministry has agreed to remove the term ‘gender confusion’ and ‘LGBT’ in the video competition,” she said.
“I must give credit to the ministry for their interest and commitment in understanding the issues, needs and concerns of the community.”
She also thanked the Malaysian AIDS Council for including her in the meeting to represent the LGBT community.
“I was so honoured to be a part of this meeting as they were genuinely asking for my input from the community’s perspective in each of the changes made in the video competition,” she said.
The competition, which runs until Aug 31, sparked outrage after a Reuters report on June 2 which said the ministry was holding a contest on how to “prevent” homosexuality and transgenderism.
It cited details from the ministry’s website which said the contest invites participants to submit video clips for categories, including one called “gender identity disorder”.
The ministry described gender identity disorder, also known as gender dysphoria, by citing examples of people who are gay, lesbian, transsexual and tomboys.
The contest guidelines added that the videos must include elements showing the “consequences” of being LGBT, as well as how to “prevent, control and seek help” for them.
In an immediate response, Nisha had said the contest was “encouraging discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities”.
“The health ministry should look into health issues, but now they are giving out prizes for people to post such videos. This is sending a very negative message to our society,” Nisha told Reuters.
On June 3, the ministry released a statement clarifying its purpose in holding the competition.
Health deputy director-general Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the contest was meant to help enhance the knowledge and practice of healthy lifestyles among adolescents concerning sexual and reproductive health. (OP note: yeah, right)
He said the video competition did not intend to create discrimination against any particular group.
He added the ministry embraced the principle of health for all without discrimination in the provision of health services.
In Malaysia, gay sex is criminalised, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, caning or a fine.