LGBTQ fears grow in Malaysia as Islamists shatter reform hopes

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08/21/2023

Artist Carmen Rose used to perform regularly in Malaysia, until a police raid last year put an end to the veteran drag queen’s act and fueled the fears of the LGBTQ community at a time when Islamists are rapidly gaining political clout. Since the raid, during which several party-goers were arrested, Rose has stopped doing shows, and rarely ventures out in public in costume. “It’s always a risk going out in drag. If there was a raid, who do we call? Do we bring our boy clothes just in case?” said Rose, who declined to disclose her non-drag identity due to fears of reprisal. “They see us as sexual deviants or sinners.”

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