For Malaysian gays, hope for a better tomorrow

Published: September 9, 2010

Pang Khee Teik, co-founder of sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka, and co-editor of Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology, recounts his experiences growing up gay in Malaysia and appeals to mainstream society to understand the struggles of LGBT people.

True Malaysian Story No 1: When she turned 13, Alia’s father kicked her out of the house for dressing like a girl. As a child, Alia knew she was a girl, so she couldn’t understand why her father kept scolding and beating her up for it – ‘You’re a boy, act like a boy!’ Alia went and stayed with another transsexual.

They faced constant harassment from police and religious officers and counted themselves lucky when the worst they got was just extortion (some of her friends weren’t so lucky).

Since nobody would give her a job, she was hungry all the time and had to sell her body to survive. When she was 17, she found out she was infected with HIV. She started working for a HIV organisation and saved enough to have a sex reassignment surgery. She also took up a part-time course and received her diploma in draftsmanship.

Alia went back to her kampung to show to her father that she had made something of herself. When she reached her kampung, she found out her father had passed away. She never got the chance.

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