PETALING JAYA, Feb 6 — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) rights will be among the significant issues in the 14th general elections (GE14), said 72 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted by an LGBT rights group.
Those aged 20 and below were the most common age group (84.5 per cent) to believe LGBTQ+ rights would be an important issue in the coming elections, followed by those aged 21 to 30 (72.7 per cent), people aged 41 to 50 (72.4 per cent), the 31-40 age group (67 per cent), and less than half of those aged 51 and above at 46.2 per cent.
However the online survey by Diversity also revealed that about 28 per cent considered other issues to be more important, such as corruption, racial inequality and religious fundamentalism, and believed LGBTQ+ rights was a sensitive issue.
“Although I support LGBT, I believe that the battle of secularism and indoctrination of Islam in Malaysia doesn’t leave much space for the people to consider the issues of LGBT. The more active LGBT-activism is, the more likely it is to be the target of Islamists, and the abandoned burden of secularists,” a respondent was quoted saying.
Other reasons cited by respondents who did not believe LGBTQ+ rights to be a key issue in the GE14 was that Malaysians did not comprehend LGBTQ+ rights and the matter was considered a taboo subject in the country.
The survey also shed light on the low level of confidence which respondents had on political will to discuss the rights of LGBTQ+, with 34.1 per cent believing that their elected representatives held very negative attitudes towards matters concerning their interests.
Seventy per cent believed the federal government has taken a very negative view of LGBTQ+ rights.
The survey cited reasons such as: “All political parties would not mention intentionally or avoid the topic because of its “sensitivity” and “political incorrectness.”
About 68 per cent of respondents said the attitude of political parties or their representatives in Parliament and state legislative assemblies would influence their votes in GE14.
The survey also revealed the core issues that the LGBTQ+ community prioritised were rights to equal employment (91.10 per cent), education (88.80 per cent), access to healthcare (93.5 per cent), rights to marriage (83.80 per cent), and to abolish discriminatory law and policies (82.60 per cent).
Survey participants strongly disagreed that the LGBTQ+ community possessed basic rights, such as rights to marriage (72.8 per cent), succession to properties (63.1 per cent), anti-discriminatory laws (57.5 per cent) and personal safety (54.4 per cent).
The survey, which was conducted by Diversity Malaysia, showed more than half of the 891 respondents were first-time LGBT voters below 30 years old, who will be voting in Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, and Penang.
Nearly 78 per cent of the respondents were registered voters while 56.1 per cent are first time voters according to the survey.
Respondents comprised homosexuals (58.40 per cent), heterosexuals (24.90 per cent), bisexuals (12.70 per cent), and those of other sexual orientations (4 per cent).
The online survey, which was conducted between September 25 2017 to October 31 2017, involved men (54.40 per cent), women (38.60 per cent), transmen (2.70 per cent), transwomen (2.40 per cent) and those of other gender identities (1.90 per cent).
Although LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queers, it also includes other sexual minorities or sexual vulnerable groups.