Henry, a 25-year-old data analyst, moved from his home state of Sarawak in East Malaysia to study in KL.
Reflecting on his past, he said: “It was really difficult back then.” “My brother caught me kissing his best friend in the car outside our house.
I think everybody has their own different way of reading the scriptures and you don’t have to follow what society expects you to do.” Yet if there’s one thing that Amir and Hafiz can unilaterally agree on, it’s that they will never come out to their parents.
They’d probably try and talk you out of it, or send you to a religious teacher for some brainwashing conversion therapy.” “My family is very conservative, which is why it’s very hard for me to actually tell them the truth.” Suddenly the lights dim.
To a fanfare of traditional music, the bride and groom make their way to the stage, sharing blessings with relatives.
Raymond Tai, Chief Operations Officer at The Pink Triangle Foundation (an LGBT charity in Kuala Lumpur), says the Malaysian government uses the subjects of race and religion “to exert anti-gay influence” over the Malay-majority population.
“Decades of social engineering within the education system, national media and government departments, coupled with policies favouring the Malays as the indigenous race, has resulted in a conservative, conformist mainstream population,” he said.
My eyes are drawn to the bride, dressed beautifully in a flowing white gown.
Her face is framed by a pink silk hijab, accentuating her bright eyes and joyful expression.
“We’ve been opened up to LGBT ideas in the media, in songs and movies.” After about 40 minutes of navigating through Kuala Lumpur’s notorious Friday traffic, we arrive at the wedding venue.
It is a huge, elaborately decorated hall filled with lavish splashes of pinks and whites.
As we eat, Hafiz tells me about his childhood experiences; how he was bullied in high-school and shunned by his friends after he was outed by a former lover.