The Malaysian Health Department has started an LGBTQ prevention competition and is targeting it towards teens and young adults.
The Malaysian government launched this competition earlier this month.
The competition popped up on the Malaysian Health Ministry’s website and is offering $1,000 to the person who creates the best video that tackles the subjects of gender confusion, sex, and the relationship between sex and the internet.
In addition, the contest is only open to people who are between the ages of 13 and 24-years-old.
The competition’s requirements state that all entries have to focus on the topic of prevention and control of “gender confusion,” as well as problems and issues it can cause on a person’s life. If the video can also cover resources for getting help, that would also be appreciated.
The competition is still ongoing and will continue until the end of the summer in August.
But, as you would imagine, the announcement of this competition did not go well with members of the LGBTQ community. In addition, the guidelines merge gay men and lesbians, transgender people, and even tomboys as examples of people who suffered from "gender confusion".
Of course, this made people even angrier.
"I was shocked,” said the transgender activist Nisha Ayub to Reuters, “This is encouraging discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities.”
All of this heated talk eventually lead to the deputy director-general of the department, Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, to release a statement saying, "This creative video competition is purely 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."
As for my own thoughts, its clear that the statement is just a lie to try to quiet down some of the dissenters.
Problem is, it’s not even a good one.
The very base of this competition is built on discrimination. The rules cite being gay or trans as being gender confused (and that term itself is negatively biased).
Then, to make the creators, who are young impressionable minds, find problems with being LGBTQ and then offer solutions to “help” adds to that idea.
This is hurtful to the LGBTQ community in Malaysia and I can’t help but worry for the young queer people out there who must live in an environment where a government would present such ideas in thinly veiled ways.