Disabled group upset over ‘terrible’ action

(FMT) – PETALING JAYA: The banning of the “Seksualiti Merdeka” festival by the police yesterday has earned the scorn of disabled rights activist Anthony Thanasayan.

Anthony, the Petpositive (Malaysian Animal Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and the Elderly Association) president said that an event such as Seksualiti Merdeka greatly affected the disabled people as well.

“It is a handicap to be disabled. It is a double handicap to be also gay,” said Thanasayan, who has counselled many homosexuals, both abled bodied and disabled.

“People forget that the disabled, including the deaf and blind, are human too. Sexuality transcends the able-bodied or disabled. They are always advised not to think about sex. For many of us,
our genitalia still work; besides, sexuality is not limited to your genitalia,” said Thanasayan, who is wheelchair-bound himself.

Thanasayan said it is much worse for a disabled person who has sexual confusion to find help, and this could even lead to those who are not homosexual to turn gay in the process.

“This is because the disabled have limited chances to explore their sexuality, whereas an able-bodied person has more chances. Out of desperation, I have seen cases where a man goes into a relationship with an uncle, or brother because they have no other options,” he said.

Thanasayan, who is also a councillor with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), said that an event such as Seksualiti Merdeka allows everyone – abled-bodied as well as the disabled – to know themselves and this is vital for a good relationship or marriage.

“I went to the Seksualiti Merdeka event and I am so happy, because finally I see some people who can approach such issues with maturity, without discrimination,” he said.

“But today I see everything has crumbled. This (banning Seksualiti Merdeka) is a terrible step for Malaysia and would earn the derision of other more forward-looking countries. This kind of action is always based on ignorance; it will promote prejudice. Thus, this will increase the frustration of those in the minority community, and can also lead to suicidal tendencies,” said Thanasayan.