Your deep-V's aren't welcome here, Dov Charney. The Malaysian government has begun organizing seminars aimed at helping parents and teachers identify latent homosexuality in children. One of the principal warning signs? V-neck T-shirts. It'd be sort of funny if it weren't rooted in a wildly un-self aware bigotry. Singapore news outlet AsiaOne has the details on the guidelines taught by the Teachers Foundation of Malaysia:
The list ... categorizes lesbians as people who are attracted to women, who like to eat, sleep and hang out in the company of other women, and who have no affection for men.
Its list for men includes preferences for V-necks and sleeveless clothes.
In a seminar in Penang on Wednesday, Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi said not many people understood or knew the early "symptoms" of homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender inclinations to prevent its spread, liberal news portal Malaysian Insider reported.
So far, the group has organized ten seminars on this new form of parental gaydar with the latest one attracting 1,500 attendees in the majority Muslim country. According to Asian media outlets, other tell-tale signs of homosexuality for men include carrying "big handbags, similar to those carried by women," wearing tight, light-colored clothes and possessing a "chiseled" physique.
Gee, how scientific!
After outrage by gay and lesbian groups, the Malaysian Education Ministry said it didn't endorse the specific how-to-spot-a-gay guidelines (even though one of its ministers spoke at one of the seminars), but doubled down on the problem homosexuality poses in the country. "The ministry views cases of social ills in the community very seriously and will always give guidance directly and indirectly to all schoolchildren to ensure they stay away from unhealthy activities," said the ministry, according to Gay Star News. A blog post on Amnesty International's website criticizes the seminars, saying "It might sound like something from Victorian England, but this is modern day Malaysia."
In Malaysia, sodomy is illegal and has been described as against "the order of nature." It's also the same country that censored the lyrics of Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way" for promoting acceptance of gays (the line "No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track, baby" is scrambled into gibberish in the censored version.) As Amnesty notes, "There is educating to be done, but its purpose should be to placate the fears of adults in the country about the spread of 'dangerous homosexuality' and to urgently increase tolerance amongst the population."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.