Table of Contents
- The Issues of LGBT
- The Differences and Similarities of LGBT Practices Between Malaysia and Canada
The meaning of same-sex marriage based on the Cambridge dictionary is the marriage between two people of the same sex. This means that same-sex marriage is a marriage between two men or two women. It is also known as gay marriage or homosexual marriage. Currently, there are 28 countries that allow the marriage of same-sex couple. The Netherlands is the first country to legalize same-sex marriages in 2001. Then, the legalization of same-sex marriage is followed consecutively by other countries which are Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Portugal.
It is then followed by Argentina that became the first Latin American country to allow same sex marriage in 2010, Denmark, Uruguay, New Zealand which is the first country in the Asia-Pacific to legislate for same-sex marriage in 2013, France, Brazil, England and Wales which are the first countries in the United Kingdom to pass marriage equality in 2014, Scotland, Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, Greenland which is the biggest island in the world, the United States, Colombia, Germany, Malta, Australia and Taiwan that made history to be the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage in 2019.
The latest country that joined the to approve the same-sex marriage is Ecuador which was on 12 June 2019. Even though there are a lot of countries who acknowledge the same-sex marriage, it is still opposed by a lot of people especially Islam as it against the religious teachings and violates the nature of human beings. Based on Surah Adh-Dhariyat verse 49, “And of all things We created two mates; perhaps you will remember”. This verse explains that Allah created human beings and animals to have partners which are male and female. This is to ensure the reproduction of our future generations.
The Issues of LGBT
Even though it was more socially accepted in the past, homosexuality and gender fluidity is now reckoned as crime. Article 377 A of the Penal Code criminalizes same-sex activity between men, with torture of up to 20 years in prison and whipping. In all states, as well as in the Syariah Criminal Offences Act, there are rules which penalize transgender individuals on the basis of their gender identity and conduct and which have led to arrests by the police and state religious departments. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons have been repeatedly called “deviant”, and films displaying homosexual or transgender persons in a positive manner have been censored. In the months leading up to the Special Rapporteur’s visit, at least three LGBTI events, including a film screening, were cancelled, one of them following online protest by conservative and fundamentalist groups.
In August, the religious affairs minister gave orders to confiscate the portraits of transgender activist Nisha Ayub and LGBT activist Pang Khee Teik from an exhibit in Penang celebrating influential Malaysians, declaring the government’s policy is to not promote LGBT activities. The incident unleashed a wave of verbal abuse against transgender people. In September, a Sharia court in Terengganu state ordered two women to be given six strokes of the cane for alleged same-sex conduct. The punishment was carried out in a courtroom in front of 100 witnesses, arousing global criticism.
On September 21, Prime Minister Mahathir stated that Malaysia “cannot accept LGBT culture,” which arising concern about the government’s commitment to protecting the rights of LGBT people. In June, the Health Ministry earned local and international reaction for its agreement to release a video competition for teenagers on how to “prevent gender confusion” which included “gay, lesbian, transgender, transvestite and tomboy”. However, the statement was subsequently removed. Then, The Ministries of Health and Education operate campaigns to “prevent, overcome, and correct” homosexuality in children, while the Ministry of Information has banned television and radio shows portraying gay characters.
Canada is the third country in the world that legalized gay marriage in 2005. The legalization happened when the Members of Parliament passed the historic bill that granted same-sex couples the equal rights to those in traditional marriage. Despite of the strong opposition from the religious leader, the bill was still passed by the Canadian House of Commons. The other two countries that legalized gay marriage are The Netherlands and Belgium. Catholic church being the largest religion in Canada, strongly against the new legislation. The people who were against the bill had threatened to bring down the Member of Parliaments who supported the bill during Canada’s next general election.
Since the late 1960s, LGBT community in Canada has seen steady attainments in rights and have been authorized to act openly. Canada is internationally considered as a leader in this field. Recent years have shown steady progress on everything regarding their right. In 2005, Canada became the fourth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage and one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world with its largest cities frequently named among the most gay-friendly cities in the world. The justice minister stated that Canada passed the Canadian Human Rights Act protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and was one of the first countries to accept same-sex marriage based on the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. There was a global survey conducted in March 2013 which showed that 80% of Canada's general population (87% among Canadians aged between 18 and 29) preferred social acceptance of homosexuality. The polls also showed the result that 70% of Canada's population agree that same-sex couples should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexual couples do and 76% agree that same-sex couples are just likely as other parents to successfully raise children.
The Differences and Similarities of LGBT Practices Between Malaysia and Canada
Rather than using “gay” or “G” and “bisexual” or “bi” etc., Malaysian LGBT are more comfortable using the label “PLU” meaning 'People Like Us', because the term is ambiguous and not generally known to the public. As such it allows identity reclamation without upsetting the social system. Some men do not use these identity labels at all. However, such avoidance should also be understood as a reluctance to commit themselves to deviant sexualities. Probably because they still hope to change their sexual orientations and return to the normative group. Meanwhile, during social situations, they just have to pass as heterosexuals by saying what is considered appropriate. Khalish (37, lecturer) shared, “Sometimes when my friends talk about sex with women, I will also participate in it. Sometimes I just pretend and say, ‘Wow! This girl is hot!’ So they will not think that I am different.” LGBT people need to fit in and appear the same as everyone else. From the above, these men’s strategies to regulate the visible and detectable aspects of their homosexuality do facilitate their image preservation in public because such identity politics is obviously not well received as it disrupts the social contract. In addition, to take pride in a “shameful” trait will be considered as sombong or being arrogant. This explains why some men may be soft towards LGBTQ liberalism but will not take pride in their support for homosexuality in public.
In contrary, LGBT people in Canada do not have to be hesitate to reveal their identity and practice of LGBT. In 2017, Canada become the first country in America who introduces and allows the alternative gender-neutral “X” marking on passports, for people who do not identify with a male or female marking. Immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen said “All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose.” He then added, “By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.” In addition, Rebecca Stinson, the head of trans inclusion at Stonewall, which campaigns for LGBT equality in the UK, strongly agree with the implementation and said that it is great to see Canada introduce a gender-neutral option on passports and she would like to adopt it in UK.