More than four months after a historic change in government in Malaysia, the LGBTI community is bemoaning a backsliding in rights in the country.
Malaysia’s new leader Mahathir Mohamed promised, with his Pakatan Harapan coalition, to tackle human rights and launch ‘Malaysia Baru’, a New Malaysia.
‘The reality is nothing changes’ an LGBTI actor and director in capital Kuala Lumpur said. ‘I still don’t feel like a worthwhile citizen’.
In the last two months, Malaysia caned two women for attempting lesbian sex. Police also raided the oldest gay club in the country, Blue Boy in Kuala Lumpur. Police had not raided the club ever before in its 30-year history. What’s more, ministers and politicians have spoken out against the LGBTI community.
‘The LGBT community, long persecuted by the previous regime, has not received any respite in Malaysia Baru’ transgender group Justice for Sisters said this month.
‘If anything, we have seen a deterioration of LGBTI rights since Pakatan Harapan came into power’, researcher for Amnesty International, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, said.
Significantly, homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia under Section 377 of the Penal Code. It is similar colonial-era legislation to the anti-gay law that India has now dismantled.
A 2013 survey found 86 percent of Malaysians believed homosexuality should not be socially accepted. Only nine percent said it should.
In the run up to elections in May, Mahathir made his opinions on homosexuality clear. ‘I’m a Muslim, we don’t accept that,’ he said.
Chhoa-Howard of Amnesty International urged the international community to call on the government to fulfil its commitment to human rights.
She further noted that in November the United Nations will review Malaysia’s human rights record.
A recommendation to outlaw amyl nitrite – poppers – has left Australia’s LGBTI community in uproar.
The Therapeutic Goods Adminstration (TGA) published an interim decision to ban poppers on 14 September. It recommended to move nitrite inhalants onto Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard – the same schedule as heroin.
Poppers are inhaled for either recreational drug purposes or more popularly in the LGBTI community to enhance sex.
It may soon be illegal to sell, possess, use or administer poppers, with the punishment dependent on individual state laws.
In its ruling the TGA recommended the ban because the ‘misuse and abuse’ of poppers is more widespread in ‘particular sections of the community’.
‘There is a high potential for misuse and abuse of amyl nitrites for euphoric properties, and as sex aids due to their muscle relaxant properties,’ the decision read.
The TGA also wanted to ban poppers because Australian ophthalmologists have reported an increase in cases of maculopathies (retinal damage). Poppers allegedly caused these cases.
The LGBTI community are the main users of poppers, but a 2015 study revealed a 21% jump of use among the general population in Australia. In its decision the TGA cited cited that increase as a reason to ban poppers.
‘The TGA are completely ignoring the queer experience of poppers and don’t give a shit about us, so yeah the straights are ruining it for us but the TGA also couldn’t care less about us,’ one advocate said.
‘This decision, if successful, will criminalise most instances of gay sex and will disproportionately affect the LGBTIQ community that has so long relied on amyl/poppers to enjoy receptive sex comfortably,’ he said.
‘We are adults that engage in consensual sex within the privacy of our own homes and the government has absolutely no place to tell us we’re criminals in doing so.’
Dating app Grindr has teased a mysterious new initiative in response to criticisms of bullying, racism and transphobia between users.
The application posted images featuring “Kindr”, coupled with the slogan ‘It’s time to play nice’ across their social media platforms and on the service itself.
The teaser features a short audio clip that highlights racist and body-shaming experiences spoken by users of the app, touching on the concept of ‘sexual racism’.
Grindr have also launched a website for Kindr (www.kindr.grindr.com), but no other information has been provided – besides a supposed release date of September 18th of this year.
The move follows a campaign by transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, urging the leaders of Grindr to take action against discrimination on the app.
“The Head of Communications and CCO of Grindr have reached out to me to discuss the changes they will be making to their abuse and harrassment [sic] policies,” Bergdorf wrote on Instagram.
“Racism, transphobia and anti-blackness within the LGBTQ community is a massive worldwide problem that all white people, all cisgender people, as well as all LGBTQ corporations have a responsibility to help stamp out.”
Everyone’s favorite event, and certainly one of the biggest highlights on the LGBTQI+Me communities’ calendar is Johannesburg Pride, and we are excited to share an exciting new addition to this year’s event.
Johannesburg Pride have partnered with OUTtv SA this year and in a bold move have extended pride day to run for 4 days – say hello to Pride Week!
The Johannesburg Pride Festival will now run from the 25th October to the 28th October and will kick off in typical Pride fashion with a GayPride Month Launch Party and Fashion show on the 6th of October starting at 15h00.
OUTtv SA have secured a pop channel on DStv channel 198 from the 4th October to the 4th November 2018 and are looking forward to this partnership greatly. Although there have been some issues around Multichoice in the past, we are very positive about the partnership following engaging talks and we urge the community to support OUTtv SA as this is courageous step for broadcasting content in Africa.
Johannesburg Pride and OUTtv SA are already engaged in exciting discussions around local programming so watch this space!
“The success of this month could culminate into a permanent dedicated channel for OUTtv SA on the Multichoice platform which would mean a massive step forward for our community, so let’s make it one to remember,” says Johannesburg Pride Chair Kaye Ally
The pop star and master of reinvention spends her milestone in Morocco, picturing herself as a tousled Berber queen, and tweeting this 'almost birthday' selfie
Wearing a Tarboosh hat along with a traditional Amazigh headdress adorned with spikes and trinkets, plus gold necklaces and chunky amber beads, Madonna clearly wanted to make sure no-one forgot her big day.
Posing with a placard written in Arabic - along with the translation "The Queen" - she wrote: "In case someone forgot!"
The day before her birthday, she wrote: "Almost Birthday Selfie. Celebrating Berber. Culture!"
Lifestyle website Moroccan Ladies says the singer will throw a "grand party" in the evening, and Morocco World News writes that "hundreds of celebrities are expected to attend".
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