A prominent Malaysian newspaper’s checklist for identifying potential gay and lesbian people has been slammed by local activists.
The article in the Sinar Harian newspaper, as translated by The Guardian, featured bullet points of various attributes that supposedly reveal LGBTI-identifying people.
The newspaper wrote that gay men were easy to spot because of their love of beards and moustaches, going to the gym – not for exercise but to check out other men – and their tight, branded clothing that “shows off their six packs.”
Their eyes also light up whenever they see handsome men, the newspaper said.
The supposed characteristics for lesbians were that they tend to hug each other, hold hands and belittle men, the publication wrote.
The newspaper’s article has been circulated and widely mocked online, but local human rights activists aren’t amused.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and punishable with up to 20 years in prison under a colonial-era sodomy law.
Last year, an 18-year old student was beaten and burned to death by classmates who reportedly called him a slang term for a gay man.
A few months later, a 27-year-old trans woman was attacked with a knife and and shot in a targeted attack on her florist shop.
Local activist and Malaysian social media star Arwind Kumar lashed out at the newspaper and said the article could put the lives of LGBTI people at risk.
“There are much more important issues in this country which need to be addressed,” he said.
“If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a paedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others.
“How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?”