Does your son wear tight clothes, V-neck tops and large handbags? According to the Malaysian government, he may be homosexual.
In a move reflecting the rise in religious conservatism in the Muslim majority nation, the government has begun holding seminars to help parents and teachers spot symptoms of homosexuality in children.
The Teachers Foundation of Malaysia have so far organized ten seminars across the nation, and the last one attracted about 1,500 people a spokesman told Reuters.
"It is a multi-religious and multicultural (event), after all, all religions are basically against that type of behavior," said the official.
Some of the tell-take signs of homosexuality in boys include liking to show off their muscular body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes, preferring to wear tight and light-colored clothes, being attracted to men and carrying big handbags with them.
Symptoms of homosexuality in girls were less clear and include showing no affection to men, preferring to have meals and sleep in the company of women, distancing themselves from other women other than their female companions and being attracted to women.
The federal government had announced in March that it was working to curb the "problem of homosexuality," especially among Muslims who make up over 60 percent of the 29 million Malaysian population.
The government frowns on oral and gay sex because it says that it is against the order of nature, and under civil law, male and female offenders can be jailed for up to 20 years, caned or fined. "Definitely we support the seminars because it's good for parents to be exposed to LGBT symptoms," Deputy Education Minister Mohamad Puad Zarkashi told AFP on Friday.
"At least preventive action can be taken," said Mohamad Puad, who presided one of the gay-spotting seminars in northern Penang state earlier this week. Mohamad Puad added that homosexuals "contribute to HIV, so why should we support their activities?"
Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups. This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time," he was quoted by Sinar Haria as saying.
The guidelines recommend that immediate attention should be given once the children have these symptoms and states that these symptoms of homosexuality could be corrected if teachers and counselors were to intervene.