A Malaysian university held a forum to "convert" LGBT students, local media reported this week, drawing condemnation from rights activists.
Universiti Sains Malaysia's Muslim Students Association held the forum last month, saying it wanted to stop the spread of "LGBT culture" in Malaysia, according to its Facebook page.
Abdul Hadi Radzi, one of the Back to Fitrah forum organizers according to NBC News, said they event was designed to reach out to help LGBT students who have "disorders in sexual orientation return to their natural instincts."
He told NBC News: "We are trying to educate people, this is our view to correct LGBT. Not to persecute. Not to condemn them.
Thilaga Sulathireh, founder of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters, warned that the university contest could cause much damage in comments to the New Straits Times.
"It can cause harm, such as anxiety, depression and suicide attempts," she said. "There must be more programmes with facts to educate people about (the LGBT community)."
In February, an article featured in Sinar Harian, set out "how to spot a gay" and described lesbians as women who held hands and put down men, and gay men as lovers of beards, brand name clothing and as habitually going to the gym to ogle other men.
Discrimination against LGBTQ people is "pervasive in Malaysia," according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the international human rights group reported "violence against LGBT people remains a serious concern" in the country.
I can not believe a university would even go this direction. It has long been understood that conversion does NOT work. Sad to see this story.
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