On Saturday, Malaysia’s health ministry kept its decision to host a contest on how to “prevent” homosexuality and transgenderism by saying that the competition was directed at assisting teens to make better health decisions. Activists had criticised this competition by saying that it could evoke hatred and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
In response to the claim, the Malaysian deputy director general of health, Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the contest was to conclude the perspective and improve awareness among teens on healthy lifestyle practices.
“This creative video competition is pure to tap knowledge and creativity of adolescents on sexual and reproductive health related matters and does not intend to create discrimination to any particular group,” he said in a statement.
The contest is titled the National Creative Video Competition on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health. This contest invites participants to submit video clips for categories including one on “gender identity disorder”. Its guidelines added that the videos must include elements showing the “consequences” of being LGBT, as well as how to “prevent, control and seek help” for them. Other categories include cybersex and sexual reproductive health.
The ministry cleared that they did not discriminate against any group in providing health services including the LGBT section, he added. “We have specific guidelines for all health workers to treat every client equally and with due respect to an individual’s right,” he said.
Activists, however, claim that intolerance of LGBT people has increased in recent years in Malaysia. Notably, Malaysia is a multi-ethnic South-east Asian country that is majority Muslim.