Published in The Malaysian Insider
Homosexual behaviour can be seen universally in nearly all species, but homophobia is seen in only one — humans. We are the only species capable of thinking that homosexuality is not only unnatural, but is the root cause of all evil and destruction.
Various species like bottlenose dolphins, black swans, penguins, fruit flies, and bonobo apes display bisexuality and homosexuality. Homo sapiens like some conservative Malay NGOs and a number of our politicians want their government to throw homosexuals in a rehab centre and eradicate the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) from the face of our country.
BN MP Baharum Mohamad claimed in Dewan Rakyat that homosexuality is as dangerous as alcohol, cigarettes, and drug addiction. Much like an alcoholic turning sober, Baharum thinks that gays have a secret switch, which, when turned off in a rehab centre, will magically render them straight.
Wondering how easy it is to present “citation needed” figures dressed as facts in Dewan Rakyat? Baharum only had to pluck “scary” statistics out of thin air, claiming that (gasp) THREE out of 10 men in Malaysia are gay. No peer-reviewed papers, no double-checked numbers, no certified facts needed.
Further reading brought me to an interview in Utusan Malaysia with Hushim Salleh, a counsellor who claims to have dealt with 1,000 homosexuals (his success rate is, conveniently, not mentioned). In it, Hushim claimed that three out of 10 urban Malaysian men are gay, while in the kampung, the figure is down to two out of 10. Hushim’s only source was his conversations with gay men.
Voila, a piece of statistics gift-wrapped for Dewan Rakyat.
Additionally, the Utusan interview is comedic in Hushim’s serious insistence of laughable arguments. The most famous was his bizarre classification of homosexuality. “Gay [sic] can be divided into three types,” he explained, “homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual.” I imagine, even the most fervent self-proclaimed straight man like MP Baharum will think this “scary”, to suddenly find that all this while he has always been gay.
Hushim also attributed certain traits towards these gays. Homosexuals, according to him, are both givers and takers. Heterosexuals are just givers, while bisexuals, “the most dangerous of all”, are never satisfied. With this kind of vague unscientific qualifiers, you can easily imagine him living in an era where alchemy is still practised and lobotomy is a legitimate way to cure mental illnesses.
The day after Baharum’s demand, we learnt our government has already started measures against the LGBT community under our collective noses. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Mashitah Ibrahim revealed that several NGOs have been working with the government to curb the spread of so-called “social problem”, chiefly among Muslims.
As if on cue, NGOs including Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS) announced earlier this month that they would converge to protest against the LGBT, in addition to their anti-gay workshops in schools.
These NGOs claimed that the human right issue of LGBT is nothing but a planned ploy to corrupt Malaysia’s (supposedly pristine, I guess) moral and religious values. (The protest did indeed take place last weekend.)
Baharum, Mashitah, and these Malay NGOs clearly feel that homosexual behaviour is unnatural — something that needs to be curbed, to be cured, and to be eradicated.
Those who believe so, also believe that women are created to pair up only with men, and vice versa. “The vagina was created so to sheathe the penis within,” they would claim. However, like heterosexual relationships, homosexual relations are never all about sex. Save for reproduction, every other aspect of relationship can be fulfilled with any gender.
Homosexuality in the natural world is not pointless. Bottlenose dolphins male form relationships that last for years, protecting each other from predators while resting or healing from wounds. Bonobo apes, a fully bisexual species, use sex as a way to resolve conflict and reconcile. Homosexuality has ensured the survival of many species — by not having their own offspring, homosexuals care for their relatives’ young.
That is not to say that everything animals do should be normal to humans, but instead the definition of sexuality is much broader than we erroneously think. Sex itself — straight or not — can even be considered “unnatural”, since many evolutionary traits that boost every species’ sexual chances also inevitably boost their chance to get eaten by predators.
Never before has Malaysia been so curious about LGBT issues, but the only things increasing so far are our ignorance and intolerance. Isn’t it curious how the media’s sudden attention on homosexuality coincides with the alleged sodomy case of a certain opposition leader?
Case in point: sexuality event Seksualiti Merdeka has been held annually since 2008, but it is only now that the public bothers to lodge numerous police reports against them.
Just like black metal and “bohsia”, the public has suddenly found a Number One menace (besides the Jews) they can gang up on, and the authorities finds themselves with a convenient issue, with which they can divert everybody else’s attention. “Homosexuality is dangerous, it will bring ruin to our country,” they chant as they hold their figurative pitchforks.
What kind of ruin exactly? The LGBT have been around for a long time, and still we don’t see Malaysia destroyed by a quake of Biblical proportion (or rather Sodomical proportion). We might as well blame gays as the reason why Malaya was repeatedly invaded by the Dutch, the Portuguese, the British and the Japanese. Why stop there? Let’s claim that dinosaurs were eliminated because they were gay.
Just like Harold Camping revising his doomsday date over and over, prophesying something that never comes true can make one look like a complete idiot.