PETALING JAYA, Oct 13 — Representatives from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community invited to a forum today said they do not wish for issues regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity to be brought to the national stage.
Speaking in a Universiti Malaya (UM) event, a self-professed “former transgender sex worker” Mohamad Bakri Bakar who also uses the name “Kak Jun”, and a self-confessed “former lesbian” who called herself Rynn claimed such issues are “a personal matter” in the community.
“There’s no need to make a big issue about this as you will humiliate them. Many will not admit their sexual orientation. It’s easy to identify the transgender community but what about gays and lesbians? They look normal and their numbers are increasing.
“Instead of making a huge noise about this, debating about it and so on, why don’t you approach them personally in small groups. You won’t humiliate them,” Bakri said.
He was responding to the moderator, religious teacher Hanafiah Abdul Malek, who asked if the issue should be brought to national level.Meanwhile, Rynn pointed out that forcing a national discussion on LGBT and portraying the community as a problem would go against the latter’s basic human rights.
“They are people, they have feelings, this will hurt them. From a human rights perspective that’s wrong. If you feel you need to correct them, speak to them nicely,” she said.Bakri and Rynn were panelists at a forum titled “Graduate Awareness Programme: LGBT 2017 — Why Choose That Path?” organised by the UM’s student affairs department, Selangor Religious Affairs Department (Jais), and anti-social ills group Yayasan Ihtimam Malaysia.
The forum was preceded by a lecture on the LGBT by Mohd Izwan Mohd Yusof, a Muslim scholar from the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim).
The local LGBT community remains in the shadows, particularly Muslims, fearing persecution from religious authorities in the predominantly Muslim country that has religious laws prohibiting same-sex relationships and cross-dressing.