No Right to Live? Malaysia’s Islam and Implications for Its Sexual Minority Storytellers

Kuga Thas, Angela M. (2014) No Right to Live? Malaysia’s Islam and Implications for Its Sexual Minority Storytellers. In Moller, Lena, Ahumada, Minerva, & Brown, Laurinda (Eds.) Perspectives on Storytelling: Framing Global and Personal Identities. Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 303-324.

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This chapter discusses the fast emerging challenges for Malay and Muslim sexual minority storytellers in the face of an aggressive state-sponsored Islamisation of a constitutionally secular Malaysia. I examine the case of Azwan Ismail, a gay Malay and Muslim Malaysian who took part in the local ‘It Gets Better’ project, and who suffered an onslaught of hostile comments from fellow Malay Muslims. Azwan’s experience makes one question how a message of discouraging suicidal tendencies among sexual minority youths can be so vehemently misperceived. Azwan’s existential challenges – stemming from the tension between his own constructions of self and those of others – (re)present a unique challenge in the long struggle for human rights. In my examination of the arising contradictions, I highlight the challenges for Azwan’s existential self – one who is deemed morally bankrupt by hostile audiences. The purist Sunni Islam agenda in a constitutionally secular Malaysia not only rejects the human rights of the sexual minorities in Malaysia but has also influenced, and is often a leading hostile voice in both regional and international blocs. This self-righteous, supremacist and authoritarian Islam discourages discourse and attacks all differing opinions. This resulting disabling environment for vulnerable, minority communities and their human rights manifests in State-endorsed discrimination, compulsory counselling, forced rehabilitation and criminalisation. It places the rights of the sexual minorities to live within such a society in doubt. In discussing the arising issues, I draw upon literature that investigates the way in which personal stories have traditionally been used to advance human rights. Included too, is the significance and implications of the work by social psychologists in explaining the loss of credibility of personal stories. I then advance an analytical framework that will allow storytelling as a very individual form of witnessing to reclaim and regain its ‘truth to power’.

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ID Code: 86566
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Malaysia, existentialism, human rights, sexual minority, storytelling, credibility, authenticity, intimate public, LGBT
ISBN: 9781848883871
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Inter-Disciplinary Press
Copyright Statement: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Inter-Disciplinary Press.
Deposited On: 14 Aug 2015 06:06
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016 23:02

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