Compared with the Euphoria of gay rights sentiments under former US President, Obama, 2018 has witnessed several setbacks and blows to the movement as the regular institutions of government and society in several countries seem to be fighting back in countries like Malaysia.
The practice of same sex marriage is still banned in most African countries including Nigeria and Ghana; an NGO in the latter country actually sent a proposal to the government to establish Anti-Gay centres where medical and traditional doctors would combine methods to ‘cure gay people’.
Just the other day Romanian government backed by a majority of the population picked a referendum date to properly define marriage in the country’s constitution so that same sex marriages would be outlawed in the country.
Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim has also joined the fight against homosexuality as its Prime Minister has declared that the country will never accept same-sex marriage or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad reiterated this on Friday, even as persecution against the homosexual community in Malaysia is on the rise.
“In Malaysia there are some things we cannot accept, even though it is seen as human rights in Western countries. We cannot accept LGBT, marriage between men and men, women and women.’’
The Prime Minister’s comments is sure to spark debates amongst rights groups in Malaysia where they have repeatedly voiced concerns regarding the hostility of the Malay Government and the rest of society towards LGBT groups within the country.
Earlier this month, two women were caned publicly for “attempting lesbian sex’’ in Terengganu, a conservative state in the east.
Prime Minister Mahathir actually denounced the punishment, saying it “did not reflect the justice or compassion of Islam”.
Also in August, a gay bar was raided by police and religious enforcement officials in Kuala Lumpur even as a transgender woman was beaten up by a group of assailants in Seremban, not far from the capital.
The minister in charge of Islamic affairs also came under fire, from activists and other ruling party lawmakers, after he ordered the removal of portraits of two LGBT activists from an art exhibition.
Malaysia describes oral and anal sex as against the order of nature and civil law stipulates prison time up to 20 years as well as caning and fines for offenders; the law is seldom enforced however.
Predominantly Muslim states in Malaysia are also governed by state-level Islamic laws, most of which carry provisions outlawing homosexuality.