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Malaysia Government To Ban More LGBTQ+ Films

The Malaysian government has confirmed that Thor: Love and Thunder was blocked from release due to its LGBTQ+ elements. A minister said that the government is committed to curtailing gay culture.

Both the movies Thor and Lightyear were submitted for classification and censorship . As Variety reports, in both cases the board asked for cuts that the studio chose not make, effectively depriving the pictures of a theatrical release. Lightyear was banned in 16 or more Muslim-majority countries.

“Recently there was a film that did not pass censorship, that is the new Thor film,” said Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin. “[The movie] touched on LGBT but we see right now there are many films with LGBT elements that slip past the censorship.”

Zahidi said that government and the Islamic Affairs Department were committed to curtailing the spread of LGBTQ+ culture in the country. He blamed foreign elements for the problem, claimed that LGBTQ+ films were becoming more subtle in their methods, and asked for public vigilance.

“I am frustrated because the outside world was the one promoting LGBT,” he said responding to a question in parliament.

Zahidi said the government was always monitoring films and social media platforms for LGBTQ+ content and “would take severe action against individuals found promoting such elements.”

The minister also revealed that his powers are limited and do not cover streaming services which are based outside the country. “We cannot control overseas platforms that are easily reached online – but activities in the country, we have no issues. We have always been stern and committed,” he said.

That appears to leave Disney free to air the movies on Hotstar, the Malaysian version of Disney+, and it has been reported that Lightyear is already on the platform with an 18+ recommendation.

Zahidi has advised Malaysians to exercise self-restraint and encouraged parents to use the age-control systems contained within streaming platforms to restrict access to LGBTQ+ content.

Malaysia’s federal penal code criminalizes all same-sex activity. Those found guilty face up to 20 years in prison and whipping.

A report by Human Rights Watch and Justice for Sisters, a transgender-rights group, called on Malaysia to decriminalize same-sex relations and to end gay-conversion therapy. “In addition to institutionalized discrimination and human rights violations that amount to torture, LGBT people also face discrimination and violence from members of the public. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable,” the report said.

The JAKIM and some regional Islamic affairs departments organize conversion therapy "retreats." The report said that over 1,700 LGBTQ+ people have been put through such therapy.

“Malaysia’s current rehabilitation and criminalization approaches to LGBT people are based neither in rights nor evidence,” said Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of Justice for Sisters. “The programs, while framed as compassionate, internalize societal and structural discrimination and foment self-hatred among LGBTQ and gender diverse persons and hostility among the rest of the population.”

Malaysia has previously acted to prevent the screening of films including Rocketman, and a book titled Gay Is O.K.! A Christian Perspective.

Read related myGwork articles here:

Malaysia Launches Conversion Therapy App To Help Gay People “Abandon Homosexual Behavior”

Malaysian Government Steps Up Attacks On LGBTQ+ People

Trans And Gender Non-Confirming People On Brink Of Being Banned From Malaysia’s Mosques

Malaysian Man Wins Right To Challenge Ban on Homosexuality

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