Malaysia

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: illegal
  • Legal gender recognition: not possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: not possible
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: opposed SOGI in 2016

 

Overview

In addition to Malaysia’s national laws such as the penal code 377, banning same-sex relations, several states impose Islamic Sharia law, which criminalizes same-sex relations and gender non-conformity. Due to these laws, LGBTIQ Malaysians are subject to arbitrary arrests, assault, extortion, and violations of their privacy by police and public officials. In regions under Sharia Law, religious officials can impose greater punishments to Muslim LGBTIQ Malaysians. Malaysia’s censorship laws prohibit the distribution, display, or creation of any materials that the government deems “obscene” or “against public decency.” These censorship laws have been used to restrict LGBTIQ people’s freedom of expression and make it difficult for LGBTIQ groups to organize.

Conservative religious leaders hold significant political and cultural power in Malaysia, and often publicly denounce LGBTIQ people as un-Islamic and immoral, which contributes to the anti-LGBTIQ sentiment in Malaysia. As a result, LGBTIQ Malaysians regularly face discrimination, violence, and stigmatization. “Conversion therapy” is regularly practiced and is publicly promoted by politicians and religious leaders.