My reply to Leroy Luar's 'rebuttal' — Azril Mohd Amin

AUGUST 16 — Mr. Leroy Luar’s “rebuttal” to my recent piece "Contextualising ongong discourse on LGBT" illustrates why genuine discussion on these topics is difficult.

Not only did Mr. Leroy not respond to a single point made in my article, he seems to be responding to a different article altogether.

Either this is a deliberate tactic to evade real dialogue, or else it is a matter of being so thoroughly possessed by ideology that he cannot process what is being said without translating it in his mind into arguments his ideology has prepared him to answer.

Mr. Leroy took exception to taking a partisan approach to the LGBT issue, and to using religion to judge homosexuality — neither of which positions exist in my article.

If there was any partisanship in what I wrote it was not along the lines of Left versus Right or Liberal versus Conservative, but along the lines of scientific reality versus subjective ideological perception. If Real versus Unreal is considered a kind of partisanship, then I think this is a necessary dichotomy in any discussion.

What we see is that LGBT activists predictably resort to emotional arguments about the need for compassion and tolerance; as I did mention in my piece.

And they have already defined compassion to mean acceptance and normalization of homosexuality, thereby skipping over the question of homosexuality being a psychological disorder, or being symptomatic of one. Our view is that compassion in this case requires us to explore and encourage treatment, not normalisation.

And this is our view with regard to any and all disorders.

Mr. Leroy projects his own apparent anti-religious bias when he presupposes that I claim the majority should be considered a more authoritative standard for normality than the minority because the majority is “Godly” and the minority is “Ungodly”. 

Again, this point of view did not exist in my article.

That the majority’s views, habits, customs, and sexual orientation establish what defines normality in any society should be self-evident – that is what “normal” means.  Having a different view, different habits, and a different sexual orientation, and choosing to define one’s identity thereby, will tend to marginalise a person; precisely because they are basing their whole identity on the emphasis of their differentiation with the majority.

And yes, it is a difficult argument to make to declare that everyone else’s concept of normality is wrong; and the LGBT community has thus far failed to offer any persuasive substantiation of that claim, and Mr. Leroy’s contribution has not overcome this shortcoming.

He states that ceding to the demands of LGBT activists is good for Malaysia insofar as it will make Malaysia more humane and compassionate; again ignoring the fact that embracing abnormality and psychological disorders is an odd definition of compassion; one with which no one is obliged to agree.

Homophobia is not the reason HIV is far higher in the LGBT community than in the rest of the population; homophobia is not the reason there is a higher instance of mental illness and suicidality in the LGBT community — the reason for these grim statistics is homosexuality itself; and this is something that needs to be investigated and analysed without ideological blinders; because at the end of the day, we are concerned about the overall health and stability of the society as a whole, and on an individual basis.

We remain ready and willing to engage in a frank and fact-based dialogue with the LGBT community. 

The question is, are they ready for that discussion?

* Azril Mohd Amin is a lawyer and chief executive of Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (CENTHRA)

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail

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