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Malaysia LGBT community demanding rights, end to discrimination

The couple steals kisses, holds hands and dances the night away in one of Kuala Lumpur’s top clubs. The only difference from the scores of other couples on the floor is that the two are both women. In recent months, discussions on LGBT rights in the country have increased, and for these two girls, there is some hope for change in Malaysia.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

25th July 2012 10:54

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

“I think not as many people really give us a hard time when we are out together and showing affection,” began Rina, a 23-year-old recent university graduate. She spoke of her relationship with Youssra, a 22-year-old student who told that her family is not pleased by her coming out.

“I told them recently about Rina and they were shocked. I thought my father was going to kill me, but even though they are not happy, I think they have accepted who I am,” she argued.

For the country’s lesbian and gay population, the struggle for rights is an uphill battle. With the country’s legal code based largely on the British system that was implemented last century during its occupation of Malaysia, and coupled with the growing power of Islamic clerics, creating openness and dialogue is often difficult.

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