Malaysia Seminars Aim to Help Teachers Spot Gay Kids

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com September 15 2012 12:14 PM ET

In Malaysia, teachers and parents are attending government-sponsored seminars designed to help them detect gay tendencies in children — and not to promote acceptance.

The seminars indicate “a rise in religious conservatism in the country,” Reuters reports. Materials distributed at the sessions warn that “preferences for tight, light-colored clothes and large handbags” are signs in homosexuality in boys, and that girls who prefer the company of other females may be lesbians.

Malaysia is a majority Muslim country, but an official with the Teachers Foundation of Malaysia, which runs the seminars, said they are “multireligious and multicultural, after all, all religions are basically against that type of behavior.” Ten such events have been held to date, with 1,500 people attending the most recent one, held Wednesday. It was led by Deputy Education Minister Puad Zarkashi, who has expressed concern about children learning tolerance of gays from their peers, Reuters reports.

In March the federal government announced it was taking steps to address the “problem” of homosexuality. Last year one state set up a camp for “effeminate” boys to teach them how to become more masculine.