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Malaysia: Parenting Guidelines on How to Spot Gays and Lesbians

A parenting seminar in Penang, Malaysia organized by Yayasan Guru Malaysia Bhd and Putrajaya Consultative Council of Parents and Teachers Association drew controversy after it issued guidelines for parents on how to detect symptoms of homosexuality. The guidelines were allegedly endorsed by the Ministry of Education.

According to the guidelines, the symptoms for gays are the following:

- Muscular body and a fondness for showing off the body by wearing clothing, such as by wearing V-necks and sleeveless tops
- A preference for tight and bright coloured clothes
- An inclination to be attracted to men
- A tendency to carry big handbags, similar to the kinds used by women

An anti-LGBT rally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo by ahmadluqman Ismail, copyright Demotix (4/21/2012).

An anti-LGBT rally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo by ahmadluqman Ismail, copyright Demotix (4/21/2012).

Meanwhile, the symptoms for lesbians are below:

- Showing attraction to women
- Distancing themselves from women other than their girlfriends
- A preference for hanging out, sleeping and dining with women
- Absence of feelings for men

Urbestfren thought the guidelines were absurd:

From all these pathetic assumptions made, it is safe to say that more than 50% of males in Malaysia are gay? Since they wear sleeveless or tight or V-neck t-shirts. Also, gays somehow prefer lighter colour clothing and hold a women-like bag when hanging out. Wow. That’s new to me.

From this, I have learnt to judge a book by it’s cover by assuming that all of the above male models of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week are gay.

Moving on to the lesbians, lesbians tend to distance themselves from other women other than their companion. That’s interesting, I’m pretty sure I know tons of lesbos out there. Hmm. In addition, they like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company with women. To all the women out there who enjoy hanging with y’all gal pal, be careful!! People might be judging you. What if I like sleeping with my mom? Does that make me a lesbian?

What an interesting guideline filled with stereotypes and prejudism.

Joel Wong describes the list as ‘laughably insane':

Now the problem with this whole set of guidelines is everything. I'm serious. Every single thing in this list is so laughably insane that the person (or persons) who drew up this list must have been drunk out of their minds or high as hell. These idiots are utterly confused by the entire concept of what it means to be homosexual. Of course, I don't claim to know how homosexuals think but but holy shit, you don't have to be a homosexual to be insulted by the stupidity of the whole thing.

Personally, when I see a muscular guy wearing tight sleeveless clothes, the first thought that comes into my mind is not, “GAAAAAY!” On the contrary, I would nod knowingly to myself because I know how conventional clothing is ill suited for the muscular guys. The only reason they wear sleeveless is because their muscular biceps and triceps and all the other ceps totally rip apart sleeves. Gigantic muscles are sleeves’ worst nightmare.

Jackson Yee thinks the intention of the ministry in endorsing the guidelines is malicious:

In fact, I am receptive to the guidelines posted. Firstly, it’s a guideline. Guideline means a proposed series of hints. It does not necessarily fit in the entire gay community in its respective individuals’ characteristic. Secondly, I personally think that this guideline to some extent contains some truths, as the hottest gays are always publicized. Furtherance to that, it means that the “normalized” gays (as for the perspective of the ignorance group) have not gained enough spotlights. Thirdly, I would think this guideline is serving a good laugh to the experts in the field of gay rights activism.

However, the intention of MOE behind publishing the guidelines for “spotting a gay” is malicious. It is to drag the gays out to the public so that the gays could be given counseling or the so-called “reparative therapy”. Again, it’s funny to see how ignorant the MOE could be. On the other hand, to a gay person, the intention of spotting a gay presumably is to seek for the sense of togetherness, security and warmness in the face of threats being posed to the gay community in Malaysia almost every fortnight.

On Twitter, the topic became popular as well.

@arunasena The Guidelines for Gay & Lesbian firmly placed Malaysia as the World's Leading Draconian Country. Good job.

@MrToffee Just when I thought my country was getting progressive, along comes Malaysia's Ed. issuing guidelines for spotting gay/lesbian symptoms. :P

@jeangreyxx Deeply amused by these guidelines published by Malaysia Educ Ministry on how to spot gay and lesbian children. Srsly.

@ailaazizul< Humiliation made worldwide

@cptai More famous for wrong reason! :(

@nikisingh Beyond ridiculous

@dannyshuster Uh-oh better take a 2nd look at my closet…

The ministry has denied endorsing the guidelines. But it vowed to continue helping parents in preventing the youth to be involved in ‘unhealthy activities':

However, the MOE views cases of social ills seriously and would constantly give direct and indirect guidance to all students to avoid getting involved in unhealthy activities.

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