A new report has revealed government officials in Malaysia have allowed so-called ‘conversion therapy’ as a means to “rehabilitate” LGBTQ+ people.
The findings by Human Rights Watch and Justice For Sisters found that the Malaysian government funds state-sanctioned ‘conversion therapy’ retreats called “mukhayyam”.
The aim is to change or suppress participants’ sexualities.
Since June 2021, 1,733 people have been subjected to programs of this nature.
Thilaga Sulathireh, the co-founder of Justice for Sisters, stated: “The programs, while framed as compassionate, internalise societal and structural discrimination and foment self-hatred among LGBTQ and gender diverse persons and hostility among the rest of the population.”
Interviewees from the study said conversations about HIV were handled insensitively.
They recounted leaders showed them uncensored pictures of people living with HIV on a slideshow.
A queer woman in the report, known just as, Amira said: “If the government just stops talking about LGBT people, that would be a huge thing already. They’re talking to a nation that already has its own phobia, and they reinforce their phobia.”
Another interviewee, named Farah in the report, said they were shocked in a session about repentance.
Farah said the sessions were designed to fear-monger rather than educate.
In March of this year, the Malaysian government developed an app for queer people which aimed to deter them from homosexual tendencies and bring them back to nature.
The country implemented stricter penalties for LGBTQ+ people.
It was promptly taken down.