Tag Archives: homosexuality

LGBT in Malaysia

Everyone has been talking about the change of government since the GE14 in May. Yet my blog seems so cold about this whole shift as if I don’t care, because I have not mentioned it at all so far, but this does not represent how I personally feel about it.

This morning I heard on the 89.9 BFM regarding LGBT in Malaysia. Some were hoping that with the new government, “something” can be done for this minority group. Today I’m not commenting on the Sharia (Islamic) law or how pervasive the discrimination towards LGBT is in Malaysia, I’m writing this as a psychotherapist who works in private psychiatric clinics and private hospitals. I do not represent one or any of them.

In the year of 2007, statistics showed 8% of the Malaysia population thought that homosexuality should be accepted, while in 2013 there was 9%. One of the lowest rates of acceptance in the world.

I’m pleased to see some of them appearing on the newspaper and in the public sharing their stories occasionally. But those were just a very small percentage of the people. From time to time, the clinic and myself received phone calls and emails from people suffering from them. They do not contact us because of mental distress, they get in touch because they want us to “change them back to normal.” They do not want themselves to be like this.

Yes you can set up any law to control their appearance in the media or even in the public. You can also stop them from entering your country. You can prosecute them for cross-dressing and other behaviour. Your law enforcers can also assault and humiliate them however they like it without getting into any trouble. etc. etc.

You can pretend that you don’t see them and disallow them to appear anywhere you don’t want them to be seen, but they don’t just disappear. They suffer. They continue to suffer. In silence. They seek help from private services like us. They avoid the general or government hospitals. Many of them even never speak to their family members about it. They do their best to hide it.

No I’m sorry I can’t change them back to normal. Because who is there to decide what is normal and what isn’t. Not me. Not you either. I can help them though, with all the anxiety and depression that stem from the discrimination and problems in their everyday lives.

So I’m really hoping that whatever laws and regulation the new government may come up with, consider each of these unique individuals, how the interests of the public and theirs can be served, and how can there be less suffering for all. And for the public, I’d really like to urge everyone to be more open, you don’t have to accept them or like them or befriend them, but just bring an open heart and mind, and see what happens.

 

Related read: Can we help with Sexual Orientation “Issues”?

Can we help with Sexual Orientation “Issues”?

It seems to get more and more frequent that we’re getting emails (but not other means of communication, just usually emails) asking about sexual orientation problems, or even worse, asking us to “fix me, as I don’t want to be a gay”. Whereas, some are children of successful entrepreneurs, who can’t accept their children’s homosexuality, and asking us to “cure it”.

I’m not a scholar or researcher in this area, so my view here is rather subjective (and personal), but it’s through plenty of my involvement with people who identify themselves as homosexuals, which include closed friends, acquaintances, friends of family, clients, family of clients.

For those who see sexual orientation itself as the problem, I’d always tell them that it’s not a problem to fix, and I don’t think it can be fixed no matter how hard people try, even with professional helps (there are exceptions, those are not to be discussed here).

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t help, that it’s wrong to look for help from us, in the mental health professions. We help people to lead healthier and more contended life, dealing with the anxiety and depression associated with their sexual orientation.

And not just that, sometimes we also help with familial issues related to it. Like an adolescent who came with his very traditional-minded parents. Initially everyone thought that the parents couldn’t accept that their only son is a gay, but it was later found out that parents were trying to “stop” him because they were so worried about the kind of pressure and social stigma that the son would face being a gay for the rest of his life, and it all had nothing to do with the sexual orientation itself; whereas the son, was also so worried about how his parents would feel, and how they could face their extended family members etc. They care about each other, but they didn’t use the right way to communicate, so together, they learnt to face the barriers together, supporting each other.

This is just one of the positive examples. Although the society seems to get more open nowadays, there’re still a lot of people who suffer behind the scenes. So do seek help, whether or not you think your sexual orientation is the problem, there’re people out here who’re like you, and there are people who will be able to help, just perhaps not in the way you expect.

People often leave here being still the same person with the same orientation, but feeling much more empowered to handle the stress and anxiety associated with it, and more motivated to lead the life the way they want.

 


不能确定是社会越来越开放, 还是实际数字真的在增加, 最近越来越常收到电邮, 问关于性取向 (sexual orientation) 与同性 (homosexuality) 问题. 更甚的是, 有些人是希望我们把”问题治愈”. 有些则是一些企业家, 不能接受自己的孩子是同性恋, 而要求我们 “改正”它.

虽然我不曾着重研究这方面的课题,但是身边有着不少朋友和病人等, 所以算是相当有经验处理相关问题. 一般我都会告诉他们, 性取向, 并不是一样你很努力就能改变的东西, 很多时候, 只是把它压抑着而已.

但是这并不代表你不能来找我们帮助, 不代表求救于心理科 (psychology) 或精神专科 (psychiatry) 就是错的, 因为我们可以协助你面对和处理性取向所带来的压力 (stress),焦虑 (anxiety) 和抑郁 (depression).

不只是这样, 我们还可以帮忙调和与家人的关系与问题. 之前有个青年男生与思想非常传统的父母一起寻求帮助. 一开始大家都以为父母肯定是不能接受他们的独子是个同性恋, 但是深入了解后才发现父母其实非常担忧儿子未来要走的路, 所面对的压力和歧视, 他们的反对, 只是希望儿子有个平坦一些的路和未来, 不用受那么多苦. 而儿子, 同样也感到非常痛苦, 但担心的不是自己所要面对的, 而是父母所会受到的亲戚朋友乃至社会的压力与污言垢语. 他们彼此互相关心着, 所以在沟通以后, 开始学习一起面对一切困境.

所以请一定要寻求帮助, 不管你觉得问题是性取向本身或者其它连带问会餐题, 都会有人和你一样面对着一样的问题, 也会有人可以帮助到你, 只是可能方法不是你想象的那样.

很多人在结束治疗时, 还是那个同性那个一样的性取向, 只是他们已经学会了如何面对和克服一切, 并朝向他们向往的人生.