Sometimes things that happen in the country of my birth and current residence make me shake my head.
Yes you read that right, an anti – LGBT musical is going to tour Malaysian schools. For free. With state backing. The musical portrays queer people as being obsessed with partying, drug users and people who have casual sex – in contrast with their Islam oriented neighbours who engage in none of those behaviours.
From the article:
The work was penned to educate Malaysian students and their parents of “the bad things about LGBT,” according to director-writer Adam in a statement for the Guardian. He continued, “Nowadays in Malaysia you read so many things in newspaper articles or write-ups about LGBT … because [LGBT] are going into schools and influencing the children. Children need to recognise that men are for women, and women are for men. They [LGBT] are all out to have homosexual and lesbian sex, and although right now it is not so serious [in Malaysia], we need to act, to do something, to say something, to say that this is bad and not to follow it.”“
At the end of the musical all the queer teenagers who do not repent of their sins are struck by lightning and killed.
This is not OK. The author of this musical claims that:
“‘This is their world.’ I didn’t do academic research, because I don’t intend to create a war against them. My job is to write a story and direct a play. That is all. If anyone said I tried to create hateful feelings, then I say no, I didn’t do that at all. I always do good things.”
So he has simply made assumptions as to how queer people live and is presenting them as fact. He claims he does not wish to start a war, but he is actively trying to create and reinforce stigma towards queer people and when it comes to stigma violence is nearly always a consequence. It is disengenuous to claim that it is not his intention to create hateful feelings when it is quite clear that hateful feelings will be a direct consequence of this endeavor.
Queer people already face substantial discrimination in Malaysia. There are anti-sodomy laws on the criminal code and there have been various public campaigns aimed at stamping out effeminate behaviour in young men and tom boyish behaviour in young women. These have included public service announcements and bootcamps.
Even if you believe that queer lifestyles are not approved by Islam, I believe that relationships with god are personal. You need to live your life how you see fit and allow others to do the same.Queer people have diverse lives, just as straight people do. To stereotype with a broad stroke, and claim that all queer people live the same life is irresponsible and unfair.
There cannot be a state sponsored version of morality. This effectively promotes violence against queer people. While that may not be the intention, that will be the effect.