Malaysian government promotes gay conversion therapy

A government-sponsored video says homosexuality can be ‘cured’ following a training programme.

The three-minute video, produced by Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) – Malaysia’s family, social and community department – likens same-sex relationships to horse riding, claiming that when someone realises he has a ‘different’ orientation from the majority, extensive training and guidance is needed to correct it.

According to the Malay Mail Online, Jakim said that to change sexual orientation, one must do so for God’s sake instead of being forced to. The film proceeds to urge repentant homosexuals to fulfil their sexual desires through marriage or suppress impulses through fasting.

It also advises Muslims to be patient and help their friends to return to the heterosexual path if they discover them to be LGBT.

Malaysia is a predominantly Islamic and conservative country and LGBT rights are largely unrecognised, with Human Rights Watch saying: “Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive.” Under both Sharia and the country’s laws, homosexuality and gender change surgery are illegal.

Social activist Syed Amzi Alhabshi shared the film on his Facebook page yesterday, attracting comments which praised and disputed Jakim’s aims.

Luq Harith said: “Color me surprised with rainbow colors. JAKIM actually came out with a video that is non-hateful of the LGBT community.”

Huda Mutalib, found the video less beneficial, writing: “I was not impressed by the video. And it’s very dangerous for them to encourage heterosexual marriage as a way to ‘fix’ the LGBT person, for the person, the spouse AND the children they may bear.”

The controversial practice of conversion therapy has been banned in a number of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Israel, Lebanon, Malta, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the US.

Watch the video below.