A major newspaper in Malaysia is being called out for a list of tips on how to identify gay people. This has brought the ire of activists who worry that the result could be a dangerous witchhunt. The article, published in Sinar Hinarian featured a bullet pointed list of traits for figuring out who might be closeted. Some of the stereotypical examples were somewhat laughable. Gay men, the article claimed, are easy to identify due to their love of beards, branded clothing and going to the gym. "Their eyes light up when they see handsome men," the article also explained.
Lesbians can be singled out due to the fact that they tend to hug each other, hold hands and belittle men. Malaysia and Indonesia are majority Muslim nations and homosexuality is a crime punishable with a 20-year prison sentence. Recently there have been multiple deaths of men and women who had been suspected of being gay or transgender. An 18-year old student, T Nhaveen was beaten and then burned to death by classmates who labeled him "pondan" (a local term for gay). A 27-year old transgender, Sameera Krishnan was on the receiving end of a knife attack before being shot three times in her florist shop just months after.
Arwind Kumar is an activist and major Malaysian social media star and warns the list could "take away lives."
<blockquote>“There are much more important issues in this country which need to be addressed,” he said. “If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a paedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others. How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?”</blockquote>
Malaysian attitudes on homosexuality are definitely far from progressive. The Malaysian health ministry's website even has an article titled, "Why would a person be lesbian?" In the "educational" piece, it is pointed out that many women become lesbians due to putting work over family and as a result feeling women are the only ones who would truly understand them.