Yusseri Yusoff, The Malaysian Insider
…then you do not, cannot, exist. Sorry about that, but that’s just how it is.
As it is conventionally practised in Malaysia, there are many things in which Islam is wondrously flexible on. Things such as the amount of alcohol unintentionally present in non-alcoholic food and drinks, the wearing of supposedly curative magnetic bangles, or even whether you can or cannot have hair implants (apparently you can, as long as it’s your own hair — thus proving that tautological contortionism remains undead).
However, on being of the homosexual persuasion, there is none. No wriggle room, no ambiguity. No hemming, no hewing.
Same-sex relationships are not allowed. This is not limited to just the guys. Girl-on-girl action is also not allowed. These acts are “haram.”
If you’re a boy, you cannot dress like a girl. If you’re a girl, do not dress like a boy. Those are “haram” too. If you’re unsure whether you’re a boy or a girl, dress like what it says on your birth certificate.
Now, we all know the story of Lot (Luth) and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Especially the bit where there were these two angels sent down by the Almighty to either see whether there were any good people left in the cities (Old Testament version) or to tell Lot to flee the city of Sodom (Qur’an version), before the two cities were smote with fire and brimstone. Well, okay, we would if we paid attention during religious studies when (or rather, if) those bits were mentioned, or read it up on the Interweb.
To summarise the end result, the cities were razed to the ground partly because the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were hedonistic homosexuals who turned their backs on God and laughed at Lot’s attempts to steer them to the Righteous Path. Also, Lot’s wife got done in too, even though she wasn’t, in so far as anyone could tell, a lesbian.
What that meant, for Muslims (and for that matter the two other Abrahamic faiths), was that as far as the mullahs, priests and other assorted religiously inclined individuals are concerned, there is no ambiguity.
Being gay is then considered deviant and a perversion of the order of nature. An abomination, a despicable sickness. Further, if unchecked, this deviant behaviour has the potential to lead others astray.
In the local context, so widespread is this stance that you won’t find a single political party that is willing to stand up for the LGBTs, with the exception of Parti Sosialis Malaysia — who have the total sum of one Member of Parliament (Sg. Siput) and one assemblyman in Selangor (Kota Damansara). But PSM are also fist-clenching communists, so what they think doesn’t really count.
Not only will they not stand up for the LGBTs, the politicians (who aren’t fist-clenching commies) will have no hesitation in condemning, nay, ostracising the very people they represent, should these people be queer.
The prime minister says you’re deviant, and that there is no place for you in the country. The Leader of the Opposition says … ah, well, does it matter what he says? For what it’s worth, they’re both against same-sex marriage, even though no one here has actually raised the matter.
So there you are, if you’re gay, those in positions of power or aspiring to be in positions of power will not open their arms to you. The moral guardians of the day will not embrace you. In fact, should you also be a Muslim, it seems that even God will not help you, for you are an Enemy of Islam.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t really want to be an enemy to anyone, never mind a religion. You just are, by being what you are.
Oh, so you feel that basic human decency should grant you the right to live as true to yourself as you can be? You’re having a laugh. Did you not know that your “condition” is considered a sickness, and that it is a “lifestyle choice”?
What that implies is that since it is a sickness, you can likely be cured. It means that you could possibly get yourself treated. It’s a mental sickness, so you can probably see a shrink or two. In addition, you should get yourself to the nearest mullah and get your spiritual compass straightened out.
What’s that? You pray five times a day, fast in the month of Ramadan and have been to the Holy City several times and you’re still bent as a crowbar? Clearly, you’re not doing it right, then.
In addition, you have clearly been influenced by the decadent values of the West, and made a choice in selecting this lifestyle. That’s right, it’s a choice.
Sorry, you don’t think it’s a choice? You say that you were born this way? After all, why would anyone choose to have a life where it’s a crime to just be in love, where you’re constantly afraid that your family and your friends might turn their backs on you if they found out and you feel the need to pretend all the time?
Indeed, why would anyone choose to be like that … unless you’re sick, perverted and deviant. You’re a reprobate, a recalcitrant and you’re nuts. You probably don’t like yourself very much, either.
Because you made AIDS happen. The ustaz said you did, oh yes.
So, you see, it doesn’t look good for you. No matter how much you protest that you should be treated equally like everyone else. No matter that you consider yourself every bit as useful, as contributing, to the nation. You could be a professional, a doctor, a lawyer, a musician, or even a minister. You might even be those 10 per cent of the workforce that actually pay their taxes.
But if you’re Muslim and you’re gay, you do not, cannot, exist.