Openly gay author and pastor Rev. Oyoung Wen Feng says he plans to register his marriage with his Broadway musical producer boyfriend in New York on Aug 31, Malaysia's Merdeka (independence) Day. Last month New York became the sixth US state to legalise same-sex marriages.
When contacted by Fridae, the New York-based pastor reaffirmed his intention to hold a wedding banquet in Malaysia next year despite criticism by a Malaysian politician.
"I believe, I deserve at least this very right to share my joy with my friends by dining together, even in Malaysia," said Oyoung who has mainly lived in the US since 1998 although he returns to regularly to Malaysia and other Asian countries to speak at churches or secular events.
Explaining his decision to register on Aug 31, he told Fridae: "(The date) is to honour my country, I am proud to be a Malaysian, even though the government sucks!
"But I believe things will get better, if all people will come out to fight for a better future, I am not talking about come out in terms of sexuality, but come out from fear, regardless what kind of fear it is, whether it is the fear of choosing ones career, or fear of coming out from a bad relationship, or fear of coming our from dictatorship and oppression."
Malaysia's Islamic Affairs Minister, Jamil Khir Baharom, recently described Ouyang's plans to marry as an example of "extreme freedom."
"We agree with human rights, but such extremism that allows man and man to marry will create social problems," the minister said.
The 41-year-old, whose real name is Ngeo Boon Lin, responded to the minister's comments in a statement saying: "It is heartbreaking to hear some politicians in my beloved country call my love unethical or immoral simply because of the gender identity of my lover."
"I am not promoting homosexuality or gay culture but honesty, love, justice."
Oyoung was previously married to a woman for nine years until he "came out" publicly in 2006.
"Due to ignorance and prejudice, many gay people have to pretend to be someone whom they are not. Many have to hide themselves into the closet of heterosexual marriages, and it hurts their heterosexual spouses deeply. Thus, what I am doing in Malaysia, is not only for gay people, but to send a strong message to heterosexuals that you all deserve to be loved passionately by heterosexuals and no one should cheat on your love for the sake of survival.
"I urge all reasonable and open-minded straight people to come out and speak up in order to break the conspiracy of silence, because silence kills. By keeping quiet, many good people have inevitably and unfortunately given their tacit consent to the oppressive culture that promotes homophobia and perpetuates ignorance." He said in a statement to Fridae.
Ouyang made national and regional headlines last week when he announced his intention to get married. He further urged Malaysians to come out and speak out to "break the vicious cycle" and help fight misunderstandings about the gay community.
He first attracted public criticism in 2007 when he spoke to the local media about co-founding the Good Samaritan Metropolitan Community Church (GSMCC) in suburban Kuala Lumpur. The GSMCC is affiliated with the gay-affirmative Metropolitan Community Church of New York where Oyoung works as a staff pastor.
Oyoung is currently on a speaking and book tour in Asia including China, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Christianity and homosexuality talk (in Mandarin)
Date: 21 August 2011
Time: 7 - 9pm
Venue: Yiguang Church / 義光教會 (More info)
Address: Taipei No. 16, Lane 31, Sec (Daan Forest Park, go straight across the Dante Hotel alley about 100 meters) /
Click here for more info (in Chinese)
Book signings in Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Date: 25 Aug 2011 (Thu)
Time: 8pm - 9pm
Venue: Celyn Hotel, City Mall, 1st Floor Kinoundusan Room
Address: Unit No S-0-3 & S-1-3 City Mall, Lorong City Mall, Jalan Lintas, 88300 Kota Kinabalu
Date: 27 Aug 2011 (Sat)
Time: 2pm - 2.45pm.
Venue: BookFest 2011 @ KLCC,Hall 1
Press statement from Rev. Oyoung Wen Feng
Aug 17, 2011
In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, thus, it is heartbreaking to hear some politicians in my beloved country call my love unethical or immoral simply because of the gender identity of my lover. Many people in Malaysia, some of them are my friends, some are total strangers, gay and straight alike, have sent me blessings and congratulated me when they learn that I will be marrying my lover. I am deeply touched and moved by their gestures. My country, however, fails to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is therefore particularly disappointing.
For so long, gay people have suffered from discrimination not because of what we do but simply because of who we are. Our constitutional rights as a human being, taxpayer, and citizen to be treated equally has been denied. Due to ignorance and prejudice, many gay people have to pretend to be someone whom they are not. Many have to hide themselves in the closet of heterosexual marriages, and it hurts their heterosexual spouses deeply. Thus, what I am doing in Malaysia, is not only for gay people, but to send a strong message to heterosexuals that you all deserve to be loved passionately by heterosexuals and no one should cheat on your love for the sake of survival.
Thus, I urge all reasonable and open minded straight people to come out and speak up in order to break the conspiracy of silence, because silence kills. By keeping quiet, many good people have inevitably and unfortunately given their tacit consent to the oppressive culture that promotes homophobia and perpetuate ignorance. When straight people who know better about homosexuality refuse to speak up for gay people, they are guilty of the injustice done to gay people and also to themselves indirectly. It is therefore critical for everyone, especially heterosexuals, to come out and speak up in favour of homosexuals in order to challenge homophobic or social discourse and practice.
As a Christian, I believe in love and I live in hope, I strongly believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. If we all are willing to work together, I have no doubt that soon and very soon, love and fairness shall win!