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'How to spot a gay' checklist published by newspaper

The article has been condemned by activists.

2018-02-12

A newspaper in Malaysia has published a 'checklist' of ways to supposedly identify gay and lesbian people. 

The article printed in Sinar Harian newspaper featured a bullet point list of apparent qualities said to reveal whether a person is homosexual, the Guardian reports. 

According to the author, gay men are easy to identify due to their love of beards, wearing branded clothing, and going to the gym to check out other men.

The checklist also claims that gay men's eyes 'light up' when they see handsome men, and that lesbians tend to hug each other, hold hands and 'belittle men',

Local LGBT organisations and activists have condemned the article, saying it could destroy lives in a socially conservative country where the same-sex sexual relations carry a 20-year prison sentence under a British Empire colonial-era law.

Arwin Kumar, an activist and Malaysian social media star, said the article could "take away lives."

In a YouTube video posted in response to the Sinar Harian article, Kumar said: "There are much more important issues in this country which need to be addressed."

He also slammed the idea that facial hair was a distinctive quality for gay men.

"I know a lot of priests, I know a lot of ustads [Islamic scholars], I know a lot of really really religious people who love keeping beards.

"Are you trying to say they are gay? That's how stupid this is." 

A 2013 Pew Research Center opinion survey showed that just 9% of the Malaysian population believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 86% believed it should not.