The Present and Future for LGBT Youth in Malaysia

by Wan Allef Elfi Danial bin Wan Sukeri

Lights. Gone. Before. Time. This is not the actual acronym for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) but rather an interesting analogy that perfectly describes the LGBT youth in Malaysia. The LGBT community is often considered as the scourge of the society due its members’ lifestyle, which was perceived as immoral and unnatural. Malaysia is notorious for its ban on homosexuality in which any sexual acts involving same sex individuals are heavily frowned upon and in some cases, punishable by law. A popular case involving the public caning of two lesbians who were caught committing sexual acts in a car (Lamb, 2018) is a distinguishable example. But rather than dwelling on the past, I would like to talk about the present and future concerning the LGBT youth in Malaysia.

From showing signs of conflicting qualities, such as men femininity or women masculinity to dressing up differently from the norms of fashion, Malaysian LGBT youths are constantly under attack in Malaysia. However, a study titled How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexual and Reproductive Health conducted by Dan Cox and Robert P. Jones from the Public Religion Research Institute indicated that millennials are more accepting towards homosexuality compared with the people of the previous generation (Felicetti, 2015). Furthermore, they also find it difficult to express themselves within a safe space. Even posting any LGBT-related matters on social media platforms warrants them full-fledged discrimination and hatred from society. This fear is the main reason of why many people from the LGBT community are discreet on their sexuality and refuse to further showcase their talents and abilities to the world. Without a proper platform and support from the society, LGBT youth will fade into the background, their talents grow unpolished and their confidence turned nil. Eventually, the spark that once resides in them will grow weaker, as well and their dreams become forgotten.

It is depressing to know that Malaysia is oblivious from the creativity, achievements and amazing ideas that can be produced by the LGBT youth. LGBT youth can never find the opportunity to shine and display their talents properly. The LGBT community in Malaysia should come together and strive for the similar purpose and goals, not fighting for the rights that obviously go beyond the tolerance of religion, such as same-sex marriage and gender change, but instead for the protection against being discriminated, bullied and abused. Hopefully, the future generation is inspired to open their eyes and mind to see the suffering and torment faced by the LGBT community whilst providing protection to them when needed. Empathy is a treasure that needs to be nurtured within the younger generation. Aside from that, I also hope that young LGBT representatives are given a fair and equal chance to be featured in various fields, such as entertainment, economy and politics. In my opinion, everyone should have the same rights to contribute to this blessed land.

It is very crucial to note that the chances of LGBT youth exposed to all types of bullying are fairly high. These bullying activities if not prevented at a young age, can lead to worse repercussions in the future, such as physical abuse and murder. However, it is upsetting to consider a person getting murdered just for loving another person. It is sad and frightening to see people justifying these horrible acts for the sake of preserving Islam sanctity. As days past by and we are inching closer to the year of 2020, the cases of LGBT misfortunes seem to be rising at an alarming rate. In 2018, a video of two men being beaten up by a group of people for allegedly having sex in a car in Kuala Lumpur went viral and caused uproar among the Malaysian society (Adam, 2018). Such similar incidents are likely to occur again if no safety is guaranteed for the LGBT community. Apart from that, this issue can sprout other concerns, such as the increasing cases of LGBT youth affected by mental health risks, often leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. A study done by Meyer (2003) showed that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination towards the LGBT community create a hostile and stressful social environment for them that lead to mental health problems. To make things worse, the society seems to be satisfied in pushing them, the LGBT community, to the edge of the cliff.

Islam is a religion of peace and perfection. But the Muslims are not. There have been guidelines and proper methods in handling a phenomenon like this. Unfortunately, some people took matters into their own hands in dealing with homosexuality issues. To many, inflicting pain and abuse upon the LGBT community is a justifiable act. If this behaviour is made into common tradition and hatred is spread, the LGBT youth will face a bleak future. In June 2017, a teenager from Penang was beaten and raped by a gang of young men for having effeminate traits (Thiagarajan, 2017). 18-year-old T. Nhaveen was brutally assaulted and ended up being brain-dead from the various wounds that he sustained on his head, hips and multiple burn marks on his back (Thiagarajan, 2017). Unfortunately, Nhaveen did not survive from the incident and died later on, which led to the case being reclassified as murder (Logeiswary & Sekaran, 2017). Is this the life that the LGBT community has to endure? It seems like being a heterosexual is a privilege.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has released his statement on LGBT rights in Malaysia by stating that their lifestyle will not be part of the nation’s value system (Pillai, 2018). In order to find solace within the society, LGBT community depends on the millennial’s perception and acceptance towards their rights as those millennials are the future of the country. This is where the upcoming generation, regardless of their sexuality differences, plays a vital part in securing a better future for their homosexual allies. Decades ago, homosexuality topics are considered as a strong taboo and are often refrained from being discussed in households and school settings. Undoubtedly, this has resulted in various repercussions, such as parents of LGBT individuals not knowing the correct way to show support, the society finding it enjoyable to bully effeminate boys, ridiculing masculine girls and many more.

In Western countries, such as the United States, LGBT communities are given rights to be represented in media and entertainment although the appearances are still rather marginal. Some LGBT youth consisting of celebrities are sculpted into icons and followed by millions of fans across the globe. However, this situation is non-existent in Malaysia. This is due to the discrimination woven through decades of fear mongering towards the LGBT community the second their sexuality is revealed. This further pushes the possibilities of LGBT community hiding behind masks and suppressing their skills. Aside from that, a survey conducted by the trend forecasting agency, J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, young Americans aged 13 to 20 were discovered to be far more open-minded and tolerant than the older millennial groups regarding the issues of gender and sexuality (Zing, 2016). Lastly, the millennials provide their support in increasing government funding towards the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS and accept more LGBT immigrants from other countries that criminalize sexuality (Cohen, 2018).

In short, the LGBT community, especially those from the younger generation, should not be hindered from expressing their true self and showcasing their talents, abilities and ideas. Hopefully, Malaysians will learn to be more understanding and accepting towards the LGBT community. This is easier in the current proliferation of media technology. With the help of the Internet, the younger generation nowadays is broadly exposed to differences of race, religion and culture, feminism, gay rights and other pertaining global issues (DiSabito, 2014). Additionally, LGBT youths need to be assured that the future can hold a bright prospect for them. Thus, Malaysians must come together to achieve undisputable harmony and democracy.


Adam, M. (28 December, 2018). Malaysian men beaten up and dragged out of car for ‘having gay sex’. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Pink News:

Cohen, C. J. (10 July, 2018). Millennials Support LGBT Rights But Take Issue With ‘Homosexuality’. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from Advocate:

DiSabito, A. (4 March, 2014). Millennials are making the world a better place. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Daily Collegian:

Felicetti, R. (15 April, 2015). Millennials: More Accepting of Homosexuality? Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from The Outlook:

Lamb, K. (2018, September 3). Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex. Retrieved from TheGuardian:

Logeiswary, T., & Sekaran, R. (16 June, 2017). Teen bully victim Nhaveen dies. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from The Star:

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual. American Psychological Association, 674-692.

Pillai, V. (21 September, 2018). No way we’ll recognise gay rights in Malaysia, says Dr M. Retrieved 20 December, 2018, from

Thiagarajan, T. (2017, June 13). Teenager from Penang Beaten and Sodomised for Being ‘Effeminate’ Now Brain-dead. Retrieved from World of Buzz:

Zing, T. (10 March, 2016). Teens These Days Are Queer AF, New Study Says. Retrieved 8 January, 2019, from Broadly:

Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II

Written by Najiha Zainal

The media industry in Malaysia is blooming and effectively spreading without us realising it. In Malaysia, people depend on the media especially the online media to obtain and disseminate information. The traditional media is still being used but lesser compared to the new media which is the Internet. The new media, the Internet, is dominating the people’s daily lives and it has been so important to the people. There are pros and cons of the traditional media and the new media. The traditional media is reliable but seems to be biased towards the ruling government and not being transparent to the public whereas the new media is free from interference of the government where the public can express what they feel as long as they still follow the rules and regulations but the credibility of sources is questionable. Another thing that matters is the differences of the style of reporting from the local media and international media. However, it depends on a person’s point of view of which media that they prefer. In Anwar Ibrahim’s case, The Star Online and BBC News are the chosen media to compare on the style of reporting.

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The Anwar Ibrahim’s case has contributed to a controversy in the year 2008. On 26th June 2008, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was involved in carnal intercourse by inserting his penis into Mohd Saiful Bukhari bin Azlan anus in Desa Damansara Condominium, Bukit Damansara. This was the second charge of sodomy case. There are so many propagandas that have been published by the local as well as the international news sources. The case of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy has being highlighted both within the local and also the international media. The case has caused sparks and the politician received criticism and expression of concern from the international media. Some of the politicians in overseas commented that this case has jeopardized the Malaysia status as an Islamic country. On the other hand, in the local news source, there were so many comments regarding this sodomy case. There were conflicts against the opposition and the government political leaders about this case. The opposition political leaders accuse by stating that this was the government agenda to bring Anwar down whereas the government denied and they said the sodomy case was supported by the evidences.

Here is the chronology of Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II case:-

  • 2008 – Anwar’s former aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, made a police report alleging that he had sodomized him at a condominium in Damansara. The report was made, two days after the alleged incident.
  • 2012 – In early 2012, Anwar was initially found not guilty by the high court after the judge ruled DNA evidence had been tampered with.
  • 2014 – The prosecution filed an appeal, and in March 2014, the court of appeal overturned the acquittal. Anwar was sentenced to five years jail but freed pending appeal.
  • 2015 – Malaysia’s highest court upheld the conviction against Anwar, giving him a five-year jail term. Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria dismissed Anwar’s challenge against last year’s conviction for sodomizing a young male aide, saying the court found overwhelming evidence of the crime

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In a conclusion, the style of reporting is an important factor to attract the reader to read the news. Despite of whether they are from international or local news, they need to be professional and practice ‘check and balance’ concept. The style of reporting that has been used by the media is one of the ways to persuade the readers to believe what they need to believe. The reporters play their major and ultimate parts in making their news fantastic and interesting to read. At the same time, they have to capture the readers’ attention so that the readers will agree with whatever the media is reporting. Propaganda is so powerful that can make the people recognize the specific political leader or party. Therefore, it is not a surprise when propaganda is used to support the statements that have been made by the respective political leaders whether from the government or the opposition party.


ABC News. (2015, February 10). ABC News. Retrieved from Anwar Ibrahim:A timeline of Political Turmoil:

BBC News . (2008, July 18). BBC News. Retrieved 2016, from Malaysian Anwar in ‘Sodomy Alibi’:

BBC News. (2010, February 3). BBC News. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from Anwar ibrahim Sodomy Trial Begins in Malaysia:

Image Credit: Akupeduliapa Image Source