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Islam is not known for its tolerance of the LGBT community and its lifestyle, even though in many Muslim countries sex between men is not uncommon due to the prohibitions of interaction between the sexes. I reached out to some friends, and in turn a couple of brave Malays stepped forward to be interviewed. Members of the Malay ethnic group basically have no choice in their religion. Relatives are usually the most persistent ones who never fail to ask: “So when is your time? (Eid), weddings, and other communal Malay gatherings.They are raised Muslim and are expected to follow its principles. Do you feel that you are able to be “out” in your daily life, or are you only able to be open with close friends? At the office, being gay is an accepted norm as I am in the creative/media line.But I still regard them as good friends who are just like me. They are Malay Muslims also but because they are from the heartland, jobs for them only consist of the typical bridal/wedding planner line, food and beverage or hospitality industries.
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While life as a gay young person growing up during the 1980s certainly was rough, I know that many people had it much worse. As I contemplated living in Malaysia, I had to ask the question While the Malaysian culture is diverse and split among three major ethnic groups (Malay, Tamil, and Chinese), the majority are Muslim. In large, metropolitan KL, it feels less conservative. Though they have an inkling about me because I am 33 and have no girlfriend.
As I pondered my personal question, I broadened my query out to perhaps an even more important one—What is life like for Muslim gay people? They know I am close to a lot of guy friends through the years. In my 20s, my family did ask whether I had a girlfriend or was interested in marriage and such, but nowadays my mother and father do not touch on the topic anymore.
I know there was a party in northern state Kedah, some years back, that created headlines because the state Islamic religious authority found out it had drag-show like elements in the party.
My boyfriend and I once checked into a cheap hotel and personnel from the religious authority knocked on our door to check on offenders for (close proximity).
I suppose the worst off among the gay community are the transvestites and transgender people in Malaysia, as their appearances are more apparent than their “straight-acting” counterparts.