A Malaysian newspaper has published a gay-spotter’s checklist. It includes things like being a gym member or having a beard as signs of male homosexuality.
The helpful list of hints on how to spot members of the LGBT community has been published in the Malaysian daily newspaper Sinar Harian, alongside a piece featuring Islamic cleric Hanafiah Malik deploring the rise of homosexuality, which many Muslims consider sinful, in the south-east Asian country.
“[They] like going to the gym but not for exercising, but to ogle others,” reads one of the bullet points, adding that gay men have a penchant for beards and branded clothes and that their eyes light up when they see a handsome slice of beefcake.
Hugging, holding hands, being alone and talking disparagingly about men, meanwhile, are a sure-fire way of telling someone is a lesbian, according to the guide.
Homosexuality is still illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia due to a British colonial-era law, and can be punished with up to 20 years in prison. LGBT people, along with liberal and Shia Muslims, are seen as a threat by Malaysia’s Sunni conservatives such as Hanafiah Malik, who told the newspaper there is an urgent need to stop the “rise” of homosexuality.
The preacher also said that “khunsa,” or hermaphrodites, should be allowed to undergo surgery to have one of their sets of genitals removed.
The Sinar Harian article was not welcomed by everyone, however. Arwind Kumar, one of Malaysia’s biggest social media stars, ripped into the article on YouTube.
“I know a lot of priests, I know a lot of ustads [Islamic scholars], I know a lot of really, really religious people who love keeping beards. Are you trying to say they are gay? That’s how stupid this whole article sounds,” he said.
“If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a pedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others. How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?”