Malaysiakini News

After 'gay party' furore, LGBT community prefers to lie low

Vinodh Pillai  |  Published:  |  Modified:

FEATURE | Two weeks ago, the authorities reaffirmed that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community is not allowed to organise a party - at least not publicly - by promising to clamp down on a so-called "gay-friendly" event in Kuala Lumpur.

News of the purported event first made rounds on social media when Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) published an article on its website claiming that a "White Party BKK Warm Up" would be held in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 30.

The event was supposed to be a prelude to "White Party Bangkok" - a four-day end-of-year event in the Thai capital, which is reportedly the biggest annual gay music festival in Asia.

According to the official website for the event, a total of five parties have been scheduled for the New Year's Eve weekend later this year.

The Kuala Lumpur-leg was advertised through social media and was said to be organised by a local events promoter. However, when contacted previously, the firm told Malaysiakini it had nothing to do with the event.

Nevertheless, the government responded by saying any gay party would not take place in Malaysia. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (photo) also branded the event as an "illegal gathering".

The Immigration Department, on the other hand, vowed to deny entry to participants and organisers flying in for the event by issuing a 'Not to Land' (NTL) notice under Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1959.

The authorities' hostile attitude towards the LGBT community appears to reflect a Pew Research Center survey done in 2013, which showed that 86 percent of Malaysians believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

How would or should the local LGBT community react to such hostility? To find out, Malaysiakini spoke to patrons at the venue of the purported event and other "gay-friendly" nightspots over the weekend...

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