Malaysia plans to launch ‘conversion’ therapy programme for trans women

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Malaysia plans to launch a programme targeting trans women with ‘conversion’ therapy.

A government official has confirmed the programme which he insists is voluntary.

Ghazali Taib, a Terengganu state official said that the targeted programme will allow trans women to “make a choice”.

“The government’s concept is not [to] force. [We] give them a path to make the best choices for their lives,” he continued.

Health ministry figures from 2014 estimated that there are 24,000 trans people in Malaysia but there no official estimates for the numbers of trans people.

Malaysia has been accused of an anti-LGBT crackdown in recent years.

A report from Human Rights Watch this year said state-sponsored discrimination against LGBT people is “pervasive”.

Malaysian health authorities earlier this year backtracked on an anti-gay video competition aimed at “preventing” homosexuality and transgenderism.

The country also became the second to censor Beauty and the Beast after its director revealed the film contains an “exclusively gay moment.”

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister also this year vowed to block a planned gay festival in the country’s capital – and ban its organisers from the country.

The Malaysian press had gone into overdrive over the plans for a White Party Kuala Lumpur, a spin-off of the region’s largest annual gay music festival which takes place in Bangkok, Thailand.

The event was reportedly set to go ahead in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur at a gay club night in the city which asked not to be named due to persecution by Islamic groups.

However, following pressure, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi vowed to block the event.

Speaking to the New Straits Times and Sun Daily newspapers, Mr Zahid said that the event would be blocked as gay people are “not natural”.

Malaysia plans to launch ‘conversion’ therapy programme for trans women

He said: “We are monitoring the names of the relevant individuals and will place them on the ‘not to let’ category [banning them from Malaysia].

“As the Home Minister, I have instructed the police and Immigration Department to ensure that the White Party is not held in our country, anywhere at all – indoors or outdoors.

“This is my commitment that I wish to state to all Malaysians.”

He assured the newspapers: “No visa will be granted, as the [not to let] order has been issued. Police and Immigration are monitoring the movements of all those involved.

“We will never approve such a gay gathering as this is not the behaviour of normal human beings.

“There are many other things we can do to bring in tourists. We don’t need this.”

Gay sex is illegal in Malaysia, and punishable by up to 20 years in prison, caning, or a fine.

Malaysian LGBT activists say incidents of homophobia and transphobia have increased in recent years in the majority Muslim Southeast Asian country.

Earlier this year 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

Earlier this year Malaysian authorities blocked the release of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast after it was revealed the film features a gay character.

The head of the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) falsely told the country’s press that he had banned the film because of a scene where a gay man “lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy”.

Disney confirmed that this was entirely fabricated, and that no such scene was made or present in any version of the film.