- Tell-tale 'signs' include 'preferences for tight clothes and large handbags'
- Government-run seminars are attracting 1,500 attendees
- The move reflects a growing intolerance towards homosexuality
- It signals a rise in religious conservatism in the Muslim majority nation
By Kerry Mcqueeney
PUBLISHED: 08:31 EST, 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:24 EST, 14 September 2012
Seminars aiming to help teachers and parents spot signs of homosexuality in children are being offered by the Malaysian government.
In a move reflecting a rise in intolerance towards homosexuality in Malaysia, organised events are offering 'advice' on spotting tell-tale signs of being gay in youngsters.
Ten seminars have so far been organised by the Teachers Foundation of Malaysia - and the last one attracted about 1,500 attendees, signalling an increase in religious conservatism in the Muslim majority nation.
Rising intolerance of homosexuality: Parents and teachers in Malaysia are being advised to look for 'tell-tale' signs that children might be gay (file photo)
An official said: 'It is a multi-religious and multicultural (event), after all, all religions are basically against that type of behaviour.'
Malaysia's federal government announced back in March that it was working to curb the 'problem' of homosexuality, especially among Muslims who account for more than 60 per cent of the country's 29 million population.
An advice sheet handed out to attendees at a recent seminar said signs of homosexuality in boys might include preferences for tight, light-coloured clothes and large handbags.
It also said signs of homosexuality in girls was less obvious, claiming that lesbians have 'no affection for men and like to hang out and sleep in the company of women', according to reports in the Malaysian media.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. Both oral and gay sex is frowned upon in the Muslim-majority natiom
Both oral and gay sex is frowned upon in Malaysia, with many viewing them as against the order of nature. Under civil law, offenders - male and female - can be jailed for up to 20 years, caned or fined.
Although actual prosecutions are rare, the former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim has twice been tried for sodomy, in cases he called political conspiracies.
He spent six years in jail, but the courts have since cleared him on appeal or dropped charges for lack of evidence.
In the face of widespread criticism, a camp for 'effeminate' boys was set up on the east coast state of Terengganu last year to show them how to become men.
The latest seminar for the teachers and parents was run by deputy education minister Puad Zarkashi, his office confirmed.
Zarkashi wasn't immediately available for comment but national news agency Bernama quoted him as saying that being able to identify the signs will help contain the spread of the unhealthy lifestyle among the young, especially students.
He was quoted as saying: 'Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups.
'This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time.'
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