Queer Community To Deliver Memorandum on Discrimination in Media to Suhakam – 10 June

In May 2010, two articles published in Kosmo and Harian Metro, blatantly attack and discriminate against the queer community. This will continue if we do not speak up against it. A memorandum to SUHAKAM on the ill representation and discrimination of the queer community in the media has been drafted and is published below.

The handover of the memorandum will be at 3.00pm, Thursday, June 10, 2010 at SUHAKAM. All are welcome to come in support of the queer community. Please send all endorsements to Thilaga by Tuesday, 8 June 2010.

Memorandum on Ill Representation and Discrimination of the Queer Community in the Media

10 June 2010

We refer to the articles published in Kosmo! – Parti Lesbian Berleluasa and the Harian Metro – Aksi Panas Pengkid, Lesbian dated 2nd and 16th May 2010 respectively.

We, the undersigned, are enraged by the usage of disparaging words such as “songsang” (deviant), “lucah” (explicit), and “jijik” (disgusting) in the newspaper reports to describe the queer community. The words used by Kosmo! and the Harian Metro and echoed by other newspapers (such as The Star, 3 May 2010) are heavily loaded with moral connotations and paint the queer community unjustifiably and unfairly as deviants and morally tainted.

These recent attacks were first and foremost attacks on sexual rights and, by extension, on human rights. The claim and exercise of these rights are integral to a person’s identity and self-worth and do not in any way contribute to general misconduct or a decline in moral values as wrongly implied by these journalists and newspapers.

The continued stigma and discrimination perpetuated by the media towards the queer community (more pronounced since August 2003 when a memorandum on similar concerns was sent to Suhakam then) shows that Suhakam has done nothing to effectively uphold the human rights of the queer community as Malaysians of equal status.

These attacks were also a violation of privacy since these gatherings were by invitation only and exclusive to the queer community concerned.

We strongly condemn journalists and newspapers who use unscrupulous tactics to obtain their stories and who further rely on sensationalism and titillation to sell their newspapers. We consider these journalists and newspapers unethical and unprofessional because they break the profession’s own standards of good reporting.

Both journalists and editors should be aware of the impact and consequences of how the news is reported especially when it comes to news about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities where unethical and biased reporting only instigates hate and violence towards the queer community.

Creating and encouraging an environment of hate and violence is criminal. As a result of such irresponsible reporting, private spaces are being invaded and violated, thus making it harder and harder for the queer community to enjoy their human rights just like other Malaysians.

In light of our urgent concerns, we repeat our call since 28 August 2003, and urge Suhakam:

First, to push for the protection of the human rights of individuals perceived or identified lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transsexual, transgendered, queer, under the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Second, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that outlaw and criminalise mutually consensual sexual behaviour between adults.

Third, to further educate citizens on constitutional provisions for the protection of the human rights of citizens and non-citizens, and to further educate the public on the spirit and core values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles.

Fourth, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that restrict freedom of expression and freedom of information.

We hope that together, we will all be able to protect the democratic principles enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution, and strengthen the practice of a truly humane, participatory democracy in Malaysia.

The memorandum will be delivered



Level 29, Menara Tun Razak, Jln Raja Laut, KL

Thursday – June 10th, 2010



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5 Responses to Queer Community To Deliver Memorandum on Discrimination in Media to Suhakam – 10 June

  1. Pingback: 10 Things: You can learn at Seksualiti Merdeka | LoyarBurok

  2. Sam Sham

    Re. Yvonne's comment: I am glad to note that the LGBTQ community is not choosing to respond to these reports by insisting on tighter censorship laws. It is precisely an unfree media that encourages this kind of rubbish reporting because press can't compete with each other to produce the best investigative reports on issues that matter to the public. And any report on the LGBTQ community simply cannot take a positive angle because of the prosecution it will invite on the press and the persecution of the community.

    Our sorry social culture of fear, ignorance, and anti-intellectualism produces and encourages sensationalised, homophobic, and bigoted reports like Kosmo!'s and comments like Simon Chen's above.

    I suppose if Simon were capable of and committed to some simple ideological consistency, he would want heterosexual parties reported in the underhanded manner employed by those Malay tabloids and repeated in mainstream press? Because we all know that the overwhelmingly heterosexual 20- and 30- somethings who frequent nightclubs have no intentions of fornicating for the purposes of producing offspring. And that heterosexual women are the biggest growing demographic of those with HIV.

    Maybe we should send undercover reporters to the bars and people's homes to report on how much alcohol they have to drink before driving off somewhere, since drunk driving is a real problem in KL, and it is OUR MONEY that will go to dealing with their own problem!

    Our porno-addicted, mostly heterosexual brethren jam up the already so limited bandwidth at night… perhaps reporters will sneak into their houses and write reports on how "jijik" they are so as to shame them into quitting and spending their time on something productive so that I can enjoy higher surfing speeds then?

    Or maybe our reporters–even those sad tabloid-employed ones–can find something better to do with themselves? Like, report on where we are in the fight against HIV/AIDS? Report on trafficked women and girls in the city's brothels? Report on that damned palace we're spending 811 million on? And leave a bunch of ladies who want to have fun with each other in safe, consensual manner the heck alone? Cause we may not approve entirely of people striking sexy poses in nightclubs, but do we want to live in a society where people feel too scared to express such a basic aspect of themselves as their sexuality for fear of raids/tabloid reports/homophobic violence? First they came for the Jews…

  3. "Don’t forget the media also has the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information"

    I agree, this make sense. Every Malaysian must know there exists a gay/lesbian and everything else sexual under the Malaysian sun and by jove! a gay/lesbian party..even if "these gatherings were by invitation only and exclusive to the queer community concerned" These news report verify the afore acknowledgement of the existence of said community and with it the rights they intend to uphold. However, only and only that.


    Because everybody knows what "mutually consensual sexual behaviour between adults" means with gays/lesbian. Two man can't produce children much less with two women! THEY just want the rights to have SEX against the order of nature by justifying it as natural.Ridiculous!


    Because these are the same community that cries together come World AIDS Day and it's OUR MONEY in the end that's gonna be used to cure their own disease at our hospitals!

  4. Don't forget the media also has the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information. Provided that the rights are exercised responsibly. The queer community's appeal to repeal all laws that restrict those freedoms, ironically, seems to endorse the newspapers' right to report.

    A media which is responsible to the society, would report the truth and, in this case, expose any exploitation (if any) committed on the queer community. Instead, the reports condemned the community's acts.

    The community could use all their resources and the cooperation with other organisations to create awareness regarding the community's rights and provide assistance in raising the quality of the queer individual's life in order that the person could live with integrity. Consent and right to privacy do not rule out exploitation on the community.

    Both the media and the community should work hand in hand, not against each other.

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