"Spot A Gay" newspaper article sparks outrage

'How to spot gay people' article may lead to witch hunts

'How to spot gay people' article may lead to witch hunts

But Sinar Harian's article might pave the way for another wave of gay bashing in the conservative, Muslim-majority country, advocates anxious.

The tabloid Sinar Harian used exhausted stereotypes to pigeon-hole what gay men might look like or which hobbies they might enjoy, including wearing tight clothing to show off their physiques and suggesting that gay men might sport a beard. They may also perk up with they see handsome men.

The list also included that a person going to the gym, but only to socialize, indicates a man is gay.

Commenting on the article by the newspaper, Arwind Kumar, a YouTube star and activist, said, "I'm not sure who wrote this article, but to you, my dear friend, don't try to be God".

'If you really want to educate society then explain to them the traits of a paedophile, a molester, a murderer, a kidnapper, people who actually endanger the lives of others.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.

Kumar also belittled the article's "tips": "I know a lot of really religious people who love keeping beards". Do not tell them about gays. "That's how stupid this whole article sounds", he said.

As part of the story, there was a checklist on how to spot a gay person.

In June, the Malaysian Health Ministry sponsored a contest that offered up to $1 000 (almost R12 000) to youths who came up with videos about "preventing" homosexuality, the BBC reported.

It comes after a spate of deaths of people thought to be gay, lesbian and transgender. A number of recent homicides have been attributed to anti-LGBT hatred: in 2017, an 18-year-old student was beaten and burned to death by classmates who accused him of being pondan, or gay.

A 27-year-old transgender woman called Sameera Krishnan was stabbed with a knife and shot three times while she worked at her florist shop a few months later. The Human Rights Watch states LGBTQ discrimination in the country "reaches the highest levels of government".