By: Sim Wan Yong
Even though it is rarely enforced, Malaysia has laws that provide for whipping and up to a 20-year prison sentence for homosexual acts involving either men or women. Laws and regulations aside, short anonymous interviews were conducted with the LGBT community of Sunway University to understand their side of the story.
- How did you cope with your sexuality in your family/among your friends? Did you convince your friends/ family to accept you for the way you are? If so, how?
A: I didn’t tell my parents, but they found out I was watching gay porn when they were deleting the history of my house computer. I wasn’t ready to tell them I was gay because I still feel attraction towards girls. Some friends assumed that I was gay because of the way I speak. My bisexuality is revealed to a few of my close friends and they kept it a secret all this time.
B: So far my friends are quite open about my sexuality. My siblings are okay with it but my parents are still in the dark. Brave as I think I am to come out to people, some people still try to change me. They don’t understand that my sexuality is not my choice to start with.
C: I’m bisexual. Even though I have never told any of my family members, they assumed that I’m gay because of my long hair. Some of my female friends know about my sexuality and accepted me easily. In fact, some of them may have shipped (paired) me with other guys. I only opened up to a few guy friends because I believe that male homophobia is more serious than female ones and thus as a guy I’m worried about their reaction to my confession.
- Did you get bullied because of your sexuality? How did you deal with that?
A: My high school is extremely notorious for bullying LGBT students and I was no exception. Usually I deal with them by ignoring their insults and walking away. However, I had enough and one day I confronted them and it did not end well. They left me a few bruises and wounds and the discipline teacher took care of most of this mess. After that, I did not face any more ferocious bullies in my school.
B: I’ve never gotten bullied due to my sexuality before. Probably because I’m very selective with who I choose to talk to about this. Then again, it could also be because I have great friends!
- What do you hope to see in Malaysia/ places around you in the next 5 years regarding sexuality issues?
A: I do hope that the LGBT community would raise more awareness in our society, teaching kids and young adults like us about the brighter side of LGBT. It is important to educate these people so that they will not get confused and have prejudice against the LGBT community. After all, everyone deserves love and it is never defined by gender.
B: My hope is for more and more people to become accepting and open about LGBT issues and/or being LGBT. Our society still shuns the LGBT community mostly due to their upbringing. Nevertheless, media, entertainment and friends are doing well to improve the awareness and acceptance of our society towards the LGBT community.