Discrimination continues to affect effective HIV prevention in Malaysia

29 May 2011

On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization made the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Yet, despite more than 20 years passing, homophobia and transphobia continue to threaten communities throughout the world. International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated on May 17 each year to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision and to rally for an end to discrimination and violence against people on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

In conjunction with IDAHO, Malaysia will witness the inaugural viewing of ‘Courage Unfolds’ on 29 May, a video that highlights issues faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexed and Questioning (LGBTIQ) people in Asia. This video is part of the wider ‘Courage Unfolds’ campaign that calls for LGBTIQ people to be protected by law, respected by society and accepted by family.

PT Foundation recognizes International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the Courage Unfolds campaign as two vital elements in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Discrimination against homosexual, transgender and other communities affected by HIV in Malaysia greatly threatens the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Communities suffering from discrimination often become fragmented and alienated and violence, or the threat of violence, drives them underground and into silence. This makes it near impossible for the distribution of HIV information to these communities, and creates an environment where it becomes highly unlikely that these individuals feel comfortable seeking out information themselves.

Ultimately, effective HIV prevention can only occur once individuals feel empowered about their sexuality and gender identity. Non-judgement and non-discrimination must be the guiding principles for HIV prevention work, both of which are promoted by the IDAHO and the Courage Unfolds campaigns.

As sexual transmission becomes the driving factor behind the Malaysian AIDS epidemic, it becomes even more important to empower individuals about their sexuality and gender identity. This cannot happen in an environment of homophobia and transphobia. Thus, all Malaysians must do what they can to rally against discrimination and advocate for dignity and equality for all Malaysians.

For further information, please contact:

Raymond Tai 012 287 2779 raymond@ptfmalaysia.org

1 comment:

Mary Robert said...

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