There are still too many countries where, in 2011, being gay means that you can risk the imprisonment. Now, in Malaysia, they have decided to solve what they believe is a real crime with corrective training centers. So sixty-six boys between 13 and 17 year have begun to follow four days of sessions of counseling to help them change their sexual orientation.
The BBC talks about a four days of religious and physical education: the camp was meant to guide "the boys to a proper path in life".
So in addition to the hours devoted to the faith, the boys will participate in fighting simulations and long hours of walking or trekking in the jungle. The news spread quickly around the world. The rights groups and commentators said the initiative promotes homophobia in the mainly Muslim nation and contravenes child protection laws.
The director of the correctional institution, Razali Daud, once raised the dust has responded to the controversy stating that the 66 children selected (which he believes would be the case "more severe") were invited to the meeting but no one was forced to take part. He added that although homosexuals and transvestites exist in Malaysia, the authorities want to limit their number. Clearly, the law that makes sodomy punishable by 20 years in prison has not had the impact expected by the government and the government decided to focus on "rehabilitation".
But the Minister of Women, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, immediately asked for its closure, arguing that by selecting kids based on their feminine ways is not only harmful to their mental health, but it represents a real trauma. It also violates the Child Act, which protects children from any type of injury. Pang Khee Teik, sexual rights activist and cofounder of Seksualiti Merdeka, is against this initiative: "All the students will learn from these camps is that they are expected to behave a certain way," said Mr Pang. "And in order to avoid further ridicule, perhaps they will learn to pretend better. In the end we are only teaching them how to be a hypocrite".
This center of "rehabilitation" is just the latest move by a government that want to delete homosexuality from the country, in any way. There is not only the law which punishes sodomy with imprisonment, but in recent years there have been a whole series of measures to raise more and more the level of discrimination against gay couples. Recently the last Lady Gaga song, "Born This Way", disappeared from radio stations because it's been considered a new anthem for homosexuals. While last year the Committee for the Malaysian censorship found an hypocrit solution to continue to make films or television dramas on homosexual themes. The only important thing is that the gay main character in the movie is forced to become heterosexual by the end of the film.
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