Gay travel guide to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia launched
May 19 2006 12:00 AM ET
The editor of a
new gay and lesbian travel guide to Malaysia, Singapore,
and Indonesia is hoping the book will foster more acceptance
of homosexuality, which is outlawed in two of the
three conservative Southeast Asian nations. The
Utopia Guide to Singapore, Malaysia, and
Indonesia, launched in late April, is the first
such guide for the three countries, according to Utopia
Guides editor John Goss.
"We are simply shining a light on an aspect of
society that exists in every country around the globe,
but one that has been mostly in the shadows here in
Asia," Goss told the Associated Press.
Unlike Malaysia, Indonesia does not deem
homosexuality punishable by jail time, but it remains
a sensitive topic. But Islamic hard-liners in Jakarta
have carried out their own raids on events considered
un-Islamic and once attempted to shut down a
transvestite beauty pageant.
Singapore also outlaws homosexuality, saying it
violates conservative Asian norms, but prosecutions
are rare in the country and in Malaysia. Despite
Malaysia's conservative stance on homosexuality,
Utopia says it is has the "hottest gay scene
going," based on surveys conducted from Singapore. (Sirius
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