Revealed: Official ‘symptoms’ of gays and lesbians

A reminder of how much misinformation needs to be overcome in the international struggle for LGBT rights.

Mohd Puad Zarkashi, Malaysia's deputy education minister (Photo courtesy of
Mohd Puad Zarkashi, Malaysia’s deputy education minister (Photo courtesy of

Malaysia’s Ministry of Education has endorsed guidelines for parents to use to spot “symptoms” of homosexuality in their children.  The belief behind the guidelines is that people are not born lesbian or gay, but learn it or are “infected” by it.

[After the guidelines were met with widespread ridicule, the ministry said it hadn’t actually endorsed them, although they were a prominent part of a seminar led by the deputy minister.]

The guidelines list four symptoms each of gays and lesbians, the MalaysiaKini news website reported:

Symptoms of gays:

  • Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes;
  • Prefer tight and light-coloured clothes;
  • Attracted to men; and
  • Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out.

Symptoms of lesbians:

  • Attracted to women;
  • Besides their female companions, they will distance themselves from other women;
  • Like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women; and
  • Have no affection for men.

The guidelines add, “Once the children have these symptoms, immediate attention should be given.”

The document was published by the Putrajaya parent-teacher organization, endorsed by the Education Ministry, and unveiled this week at a seminar in Penang on “Parenting in addressing the issue of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders),” MalaysiaKini reported.

Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi led the seminar. He was quoted as saying that parents should know the symptoms in order to “address the spread of such unhealthy phenomenon among students.”

“Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups. This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time,” Puad told some 1,500 teachers and parents, according to the report.

The belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle option rather than an innate characteristic is a crucial underpinning for the widespread claim that homosexuality is a sinful choice, not part of a person’s God-given identity.

That same belief is shared by the upcoming gathering of Restored Hope Network, a group that broke away from the former “ex-gay therapy” network Exodus International after it abandoned the goal of turning homosexuals into heterosexuals.

As the blog O-blog-dee-o-blog-da and others reported, “Exodus International, the largest ex-gay organization in the world, has recently announced that they do not endorse conversion therapy, that ‘99.99% of all their participants have not changed their sexual orientation and that celibacy is the only option for gay and lesbian people.’ ”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at


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