The government of Malaysia is holding seminars for parents and teachers showing them how to spot supposed signs of homosexuality in children. According to Reuters, the increasingly religious and conservative country is determined to root out potentially LGBT children and discipline them into heterosexuality.
The Teachers’ Foundation of Malaysia has organized 10 seminars so far, warning parents to beware of boys who favor “tight, light-colored clothes” and who carry “large handbags.” Girls who prefer the company of other girls and who “have no affection for men” are identified as potential lesbians in the literature that accompanies the seminars.
Attendance at an event on Sep. 12 reached 1,500. A spokeperson described it as a “multi-religious and multicultural” event, saying, “After all, all religions are basically against that type of behavior.”
The wave of anti-gay sentiment in Malaysia is attributed to the increasingly conservative Muslim makeup of the country, which is divided between two land masses, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, and is 60 percent Muslim, with the remaining 40 percent divided among a panoply of the world’s religions.
Earlier this year, the northern Malaysian city of Terengganu drew fire from humanitarian groups around the world when it opened a boot camp designed to toughen “effeminate” boys. Four days in the camp would purportedly stamp out any burgeoning homosexual traits the boys, ages 13 to 17, by way of a program of physical exercise and trips to the local mosques for religious study.
The seminars for spotting LGBT children were conceived by Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Education Puad Zarkashi. The government news agency Bernama quoted Zarkashi as saying that the seminars are necessary to “contain the spread of the unhealthy lifestyle among the young, especially students.”
“Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups,” he said. ”This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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