Malaysia’s LGBT debate must not trigger violence, says US ambassador

US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir (right) speaks during the International Women Courage Awards March 13, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir (right) speaks during the International Women Courage Awards March 13, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 13 — The debate over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights (LGBT) should never lead to violence, United States Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said today.

Kamala said the US embassy remained supportive of the LGBT rights, after last Saturday’s International Women’s Day march that was attended by LGBT rights supporters.

“There have been a number of recent incidents in trans cases where there is violence.

“For Malaysia and the community, nobody wants that. There can be debates about law and everything else, but there should be no violence,” she said.

Kamala said the fight for LGBT rights continued to be a global struggle, even in the US, but said safety and security of the LGBT community were still important.

“We have had a long history of supporting the LGBT community in Malaysia, the US and worldwide.

“This Is a struggle that goes and continues in many country, even in the US. But the safety and security of the LGBT community is very important,” she said.

On Saturday, hundreds gathered in front of Sogo KL and marched to Sultan Abdul Samad building in conjunction with International Women’s Day, demanding for equal rights.

The participants included members of Women’s Aid Organisation and Sisters in Islam, activists, students and various people from all across Malaysia.

The presence of pride flags and pro-LGBT placards at the demonstration triggered condemnation from conservative Muslim politicians, including from the ruling Pakatan Harapan, and led to police investigations. 

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