'How to spot a gay' article in Malaysian newspaper sparks outrage

A leading newspaper in Malaysia has sparked outrage by publishing a guide on how to spot gay and lesbian people.

The article, in daily newspaper Sinar Harian, accused LGBT people of having a specific list of qualities that they could be recognised by.

Activists said the checklist, and a derogatory attitude towards gay people in Malaysian media, puts people’s lives at risk.

It claimed that gay men could be identified through a beard or their love of the gym and that they go to the gym not to exercise but to meet other men.

The list also said gay men like to wear branded clothing and tight t-shirts to “show off their six-packs”.

Activists have said the story puts people’s lives at risk

The list added that lesbians tend to hug one another, hold hands and belittle men.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and carries a 20-year prison sentence under a colonial-era sodomy law.

Arwind Kumar, one of Malaysia’s biggest social media stars, branded the article “stupid” in a video that has been watched 120,000 times on YouTube and Facebook.

He said: “There are much more important issues in this country which need to be addressed.

“If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a paedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others.

“How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?”

He mocked the idea that facial hair was a feature solely of gay men.

He said: “I know a lot of priests, I know a lot ustads [Islamic scholars], I know a lot of really, really religious people who love keeping beards.

“Are you trying to say they are gay? That’s how stupid this is.”

The article comes after a series of recent killings of men and women suspected of being gay or transgender in Malaysia.

One victim, an 18-year old student called T Nhaveen, was beaten and burned to death last year by classmates who said he was gay.

Months later a 27-year-old transgender woman, Sameera Krishnan, was attacked with a knife and shot three times in an attack in her florist shop.

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