20 Nov

Seksualiti Merdeka (Sexuality Independence)!

That’s the big clarion call for an annual festival of workshops, talks, film screenings and letter writings on the issues faced by the LGBT community. LGBT or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender is a broad term to describe the often heard but clearly misunderstood minority. This festival was started by brave folks – Pang Khee Teik and Jerome Kugan in 2008.

Although relatively obscure initially, this festival has shot to national fame recently due to a governmental crackdown on what was understood as a festival that promotes sex and promiscuity. Debates are raging back and forth with reasons ranging from the logical to the absurd. Conspiracy-like theories surface that this debate is more than just a question of acceptance but a smokescreen for more sinister matters.

Whatever it is, the question of acceptance has been going on for sometime and being an Asian country, conservatism is a popular stance embraced by many. Lest we go down the route of pitchforks and angry mobs, the seemingly unfair debate spreads much needed awareness on these matters. I think the lopsided debate, although unresolved has already brought the LGBT issues right onto the forefront of national consciousness. It has rendered it more publicity than the event itself!

Now, only a soothsayer can tell you what’s going to happen next. Whatever happens, there will always be the LGBT community. And if acceptance do come, it will only serve to give us hope that all of us are equal. That may not be a big deal for some but for a few, it is like a new lease on life.

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