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3 Jun, 2017 14:17

Malaysia holds contest for ‘homosexuality prevention’ videos with up to $1,000 cash prizes

Malaysia holds contest for ‘homosexuality prevention’ videos with up to $1,000 cash prizes

A department of the Malaysian Health Ministry has launched a contest for the best videos explaining the consequences of homosexuality and “gender confusion.” Participants can win a cash award of up to $1,000.

The ministry’s family health development division announced the video contest called ‘Value Yourself, Practice a Healthy Lifestyle,’ inviting participants to send in clips addressing what it calls ‘gender identity disorders’ – including homosexuality. The guidelines say the videos should contain elements on how to “prevent, control and get help.”

“The very fact that they lump LGBT people under a category called ‘gender confusion’ shows that the authorities are very much confused themselves,” local LGBT activist Pang Khee Teik tweeted.

Videos explaining the consequences of online grooming, cyber bullying, pornography, teenage pregnancy, and premarital sex, among other topics, are also welcome under the contest’s guidelines.

“Each work will be judged on originality, content, concept and creativity and quality production by a panel of judges appointed by the organizers,” the instructions posted on the department’s website read.

The contest, open for Malaysians aged 13 to 24, kicked off on June, 1 and will last until the end of August. The cash prizes range between 1,000 to 4,000 Malaysian ringgits ($240-940).

“The health ministry should look into health issues, but now they are giving out prizes for people to post such videos. This is sending a very negative message to our society,” Malaysian rights activist and transgender woman, Nisha Ayub, told Reuters.

“The ministry needs to revise this and think about their actions,” she said, adding that the contest is encouraging “discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities.”

Health Ministry spokesman Subramaniam Sathasivam refused to comment, according to Reuters.

Majority-Muslim Malaysia forbids homosexuality, in accordance with the country’s criminal code and Sharia law. Those breaking the law face a jail sentence of up to 20 years and flogging.

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Earlier this year, Malaysian authorities released a video on how to change sexual orientation with “extensive training and guidance,” urging gay people to fulfil sexual desires through marriage and fasting.