Malaysian officials responsible for a video contest offering $1,000 cash prizes to explain how to "prevent" homosexuality will remove offending wording after widespread opposition, a LGBT activist told AFP on Friday.
The competition, which invited entrants to submit a short video clip addressing various categories, including homosexuality or "gender confusion,” and how it could be e "prevented or controlled,” sparked a backlash from LGBT and human rights activists who said it spread further fear among Malaysia’s LGBT community.
But Nisha Ayub, a high-profile LGBT activist, told AFP that after a meeting with ministry officials on Wednesday, "we all agreed that anything to do with LGBT 'prevention' will be removed.” and the category of "gender confusion" will also be changed to "gender and sexuality.”
Zaki Arzmi, a Malaysian Aids Council spokesperson who also attended the meeting with the ministry, said: "We were told it was not their intention to discriminate... it was a wording complication.”
Human Rights Watch last week called on the health ministry to "clarify to the Malaysian public that sexual and gender diversity cannot be 'prevented' or 'controlled’.”.
Malaysia's Deputy-Director of Health Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, said Thursday, the meeting "successfully cleared the misunderstandings and collectively improvements were made to the competition guideline.