‘Self censorship and fear’: backlash lingers for Malaysia’s LGBT community after British band’s kiss

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08/30/2023

The British rock band The 1975 has made life harder for LGBT people in Malaysia after staging a protest involving a same-sex kiss at a festival in the country earlier this summer, say local activists. More than a month after lead singer Matt Healy kissed a male bandmate and blasted the Malaysian government for “telling us who we can have sex with” in an expletive-strewn rant, a backlash has taken place across the country leaving ordinary LGBT people living in fear. The stunt generated headlines worldwide, serving as a reminder that homosexuality remains illegal in Malaysia, punishable with 20 years in prison. But it has also played into the hands of anti-gay politicians, said Dhia Rezki Rohaizad, deputy president of JEJAKA, a local gay rights group.

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