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Malaysia Gay Arts Festival Banned, Called Threat to Public Order

Malaysia

The “Sexual Independence” festival, a gay arts festival held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since 2008 aimed at fighting discrimination has been canceled after several Muslim groups said they would protest, the AP reports:

Earlier Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had described the event as “inappropriate” and a “waste of time,” according to Bernama.

Gay rights activists did not immediately respond. Earlier, they had said the festival was meant to counter widespread homophobia in this socially conservative Asian nation, where a young gay man received death threats last year after posting a YouTube clip defending his sexuality.

The festival's sponsors included the Malaysian branch of Amnesty International.

Festival spokesman Pang Khee Teik said, in a statement on the group's website:

"I'm pleased that the police regards Seksualiti Merdeka as important as Bersih that it needs to be similarly banned. We ARE important. And if anything this ban proves why we need to keep fighting for our rights. The rights of innocent people are important. Homophobes and oppressors never like it when we question their right to be homophobic and oppressive. History is against you. The future generation will one day be embarrassed that their forefathers banned us. Meanwhile, we will continue to be fabulous, to love, and to be proud of who we are."

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