LGBTQ Discrimination in Malaysia

LGBT activists in Malaysia

Nisha Ayub was one of two LGBT activists who had her portrait removed from an exhibition on the order of the Malaysian government, with campaigners labelling it an attack on the ‘dignity’ of the homosexual community.
PHOTO CREDIT: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images via the Guardian


Over the past few months, Malaysia has demonstrated increasing discrimination and hostility towards the LGBTQ community. Several events have alarmed human rights advocates, especially considering the government’s response to these events. For instance, a transgender woman was brutally beaten in the streets while seven people watched. She ended up with broken ribs, a broken backbone, and a ruptured spleen.


A nightclub was also raided recently where twenty gay men were arrested for “illicit behavior.” Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and there are actually no anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation or gender identity.


“ ‘State-sponsored homophobia and transphobia’ has heightened the climate of fear and resulted in increased discrimination over the past three months. [...] This level of aggression is new and the situation is becoming really alarming. We are hearing a lot of cases of people in the community feeling depressed and suicidal and not feeling safe using public facilities or even going out in public spaces.” ~ Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of trans rights group Justice For Sisters, via the Guardian

Many politicians in the Malaysian government are strictly against homosexuality. While the opposition to LGBTQ rights is substantial, there is hope yet as there are a few politicians in the ruling party who are standing up for the LGBTQ community, regarding them as still “part of the Malaysian family.”


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