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Malaysian school apologizes after conversion therapy printed in yearbook

Conversion therapy in a Malaysian school (Photo: Twitter)

A school in Malaysia apologized this weekend for printing details of a conversion therapy program in the school’s yearbook.

The article used the derogatory term ‘kunyit’ to refer to homosexuals and included a photo of boys attending the program.

Internet users widely shared a photo of the yearbook online. The post garnered both condemnation and praise for the school in Kota Kinabalu.

Regional education director, Mistirine Radin, told Free Malaysia Today, the schools principal had made a mistake and apologized.

Mistirine said the school had not meant to publish it in the 2017 yearbook.

Malaysia is becoming increasingly hostile to its LGBTI residents.

The country’s prime minister, who took power nearly a year ago, has said LGBT rights are not Malaysia’s concern. He labeled them Western values.

Malaysia’s leaders regularly hit out at the LGBTI people. What’s more, attacks on trans Malaysians are on the rise.

Conversion therapy, which seeks to alter a persons gender identity or sexuality, has been widely denounced by global health bodies. What’s more, a number of countries and US states outlaw it for children.

’Setting them straight’

In the yearbook, the school said the program would ’set students straight’ and build self-esteem as males.

LGBTI groups and activists slammed the school online.

According to Free Malaysia Today, MP Maria Chin Abdullah also condemned damaging gay conversion therapy.

She said it would ‘reinforce intolerant, inaccurate and outdated assumptions about gender and sexual orientation’.

‘The fact that the program refers to itself as ‘kunyit’ and calls it a ‘weakness’, already shows the objective of this program is to shame students into changing their behavior’ she told FMT.

The school’s principal has reportedly recalled the yearbooks for reprinting.

‘The guidance and counseling unit has also promised to have a more positive programme involving these students to clear their name’ the principal reportedly said.

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Author: Rik Glauert