The Malaysian Government has endorsed gay conversion therapy, says homosexuality can be cured through extensive training.
A new video produced by the government’s family, social and development department explains how citizens in the Muslim-majority nation can alter their views on the LGBT community, all in an effort to curb the country’s rampant homophobia.
While this aim might seem progressive—considering Malaysia still criminalizes most homosexual activity and has no anti-discrimination measures in place to protect LGBT citizens—another component of the video encouraging the use of conversion therapy has drawn considerable criticism from activists.
“The fact is, there are those among Muslims that have non-heterosexual orientation but remain steadfast on the path of Islam,” states the three-minute long video in Malay. “For them, this is a test of Allah, and they choose to face the test appropriate with what Islam demands.”
These demands apparently include suppressing same-sex desires by marrying an opposite-sex partner or by fasting. The video also likens one’s sexuality to horseback riding, claiming that when someone realizes his or her orientation is different from others, they should seek out training and guidance to correct it.
The short film was shared on Facebook, where it quickly garnered thousands of views and comments. While some users praised the video, others weren’t so quick to celebrate its message.
“This video is going to make people believe that there is a way to ’change’ homosexuals into heterosexuals. No way you can do that,” read one comment.
“I was not impressed by the video. And it’s very dangerous for them to encourage heterosexual marriage as a way to ‘fix’ the LGBT person, for the person, the spouse AND the children they may bear,” wrote another.
Though conversion therapy, which consists of psychological treatment and counseling to change a person’s sexual orientation, is widely regarded in the scientific community as a harmful pseudoscience, it is still legal in many countries.
The controversial practice received renewed speculation in the United States when it was discovered that a major plank of the 2016 GOP platform supported the unsound treatment.