To a fanfare of traditional music, the bride and groom make their way to the stage, sharing blessings with relatives.My eyes are drawn to the bride, dressed beautifully in a flowing white gown.
“Decades of social engineering within the education system, national media and government departments, coupled with policies favouring the Malays as the indigenous race, has resulted in a conservative, conformist mainstream population,” he said.
“There’s been increasing pressure to curtail the freedom of movement and expression of LGBT people in this way.” “Most gay men and lesbians even in KL are not publicly out, and many are not out at work or with their families; so they are mostly hidden.” While this “social engineering” may align with the traditionally-minded, or the politically-uncritical, Malaysia’s youth are increasingly progressive.
I think everybody has their own different way of reading the scriptures and you don’t have to follow what society expects you to do.” Yet if there’s one thing that Amir and Hafiz can unilaterally agree on, it’s that they will never come out to their parents.
According to Amir, Malaysian households are typically conservative, and parents would “not tolerate this kind of lifestyle.” “You feel like you have a weight on your shoulders,” said Amir.
My date Hafiz, a 24-year-old lawyer, explained: “In Kuala Lumpur people are considered more liberal, and the younger generation is a lot more accepting.
“We’ve been opened up to LGBT ideas in the media, in songs and movies.” After about 40 minutes of navigating through Kuala Lumpur’s notorious Friday traffic, we arrive at the wedding venue.
“You can be muslim and gay at the same time,” said Amir.
“It depends on how you see it.” “I still believe in God, I still believe in my religion.
They smile as I say hello with a mouth full of rice.
All of them work in the legal field, alumni of a special class who spoke openly about sexuality.
Keeping his eyes firmly ahead on the rush-hour traffic, he broke the silence and said: “Don’t worry, all my friends from law school are there. We’ll be fine lah.” Malaysia’s relationship with its LGBT citizens is sweet and sour.