Malaysian health authorities have come under fire after launching a video competition to “prevent” homosexuality and transgenderism.
The competition invites members of the public to submit video clips that warn of the “consequences” of being LGBT, and show how to “prevent, control, and seek help” for them.
The competition comes less than a month after a Pride march in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur was cancelled, reportedly following anger from pro-Islamist blogs that the event was scheduled during Ramadan.
One of the competition’s categories invited videos on ‘gender identity disorder’, according to details on the health ministry’s website, reported in Reuters.
Malaysian LGBT activists says incidents of homophobia and transphobia have increased in recent years in the majority Muslim Southeast Asian country.
Gay sex is illegal in Malaysia, and punishable by up to 20 years in prison, caning, or a fine.
“I was shocked,” transgender activist Nisha Ayub told Reuters.
“This is encouraging discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities,” added Ayub, who works at the Seed Foundation, a charity working with transgender Malaysians.
And earlier this year Malaysian authorities blocked the release of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast after an apparently ‘gay moment’ – when Gaston’s sidekick Lefou is seen dancing with another man toward the end of the film.
Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast was banned by Malaysian authorities earlier this year
This followed a decision from the Russian government to ban anybody aged under 16 from watching the film.
A spokesman for Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said he was not aware of the competition. and declined to comment.
In 2012, Malaysian authorities issued guidelines aimed at helping teachers and parents spot signs of homosexuality in children.
Signs of homosexuality in boys, the guidelines advised, included a preference for tight v-neck shirts and large handbags, whilst lesbian girls would probably enjoy socialising with other girls.