A major Malaysian newspaper has published a controversial list of "traits" for identifying LGBT people.
Gay men tend to sport beards, wear tight, designer clothes to show off their bodies, and go to the gym for cruising, according to Sinar Harian, a daily periodical distributed in the states of Selangor, Kelantan, and Terengganu, as well as the country's capital city, Kuala Lumpur. They may also perk up with they see handsome men.
Lesbians, the article reports, tend to hold hands with and hug other women; they also apparently hate and belittle men.
The publication was mocked on social media for publishing a checklist of stereotypes — and also criticized for goading a witch hunt of LGBT people. Arwind Kumar, a Malaysian activist and social media influencer, criticized the list as "stupid" and warned it will "take away lives" in a video with nearly 30,000 views.
"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 pedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others. How the hell does a gay person endanger your life?"
Sodomy laws are still on the books in the predominantly Muslim nation, and can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Discrimination against LGBT people is "pervasive," according to the Human Rights Watch.
Last year, the country attempted, unsuccessfully, to excise the "gay moment" from Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. And in June, the government's Health Ministry offered a cash prize for the best "gay prevention" video. The government also imposed a travel ban on a gay circuit party that did not exist.