A Pride festival that was scheduled to take place next month in Kuala Lumpur has been cancelled after religious groups raised concerns about the event.
The three-day LGBT+ festival was set to be held at a university in the city but organisers have released a statement saying the event would no longer be going ahead.
“PELANGI Campaign deeply regrets the decision on the part of the management of Taylor’s University in cancelling the Taylor’s Pride Week event, “ the statement reads.
“The programme, themed “Courage in the Face of Adversity”, was organised by a group of Taylor’s University students who empathise with the social injustice faced by the LGBT community.
“They took the noble initiative of organising the event in order to raise awareness in society and engage the communities around them.”
The statement goes on to say that the Pride celebrations were cancelled on May 17—the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia—a day they say “should have been taken as a day of reflection for some factions in Malaysian society on the rampant cruelty committed against the LGBT community.”
Organisers wrote that the government has “perpetrated systemic oppression on LGBT spaces and discourses”.
“The shrinking of LGBT spaces and discourses is made worse by the acts of certain sensational portals in inciting hatred and discrimination towards the LGBT community.
“The transgender community especially continues to encounter threats of violence and arrests from the authorities on a daily basis.”
Gay Star News reports that pro-Islamist blogs were outraged that the event was set to take place during Ramadan.
In response, PELANGI Campaign has urged Malaysians to follow the example of the first Muslim Mayor of London—Sadiq Khan.
“…who celebrates the diversity and unity of London society, including the LGBT community through the Big Gay Iftar programme.
“It must not be forgotten, that one of Malaysia’s greatest strengths is in the diversity of us all as members of the society.
“It is time we return to embodying this inclusive understanding,” the group said.