Malaysian 'Macho' Boot Camp Has 'Gay Cure' All Wrong

Nicole Fabian-Weber

gay boysIf I'm one day to have a son who is gay, great. Good for him. Do it up. Couldn't care less. If I weren't so awesome and laid back, though -- if I didn't want my son to be gay -- I don't think I would send him to an all-boys boot camp. Perhaps it's just me, but seems like it might backfire.

An education department in Malaysia -- you know, that place where it's actually illegal to be gay -- has recently instituted a system for dealing with "effeminate boys." They're gonna pack 'em up and ship 'em out to macho boot camp! Yeah ... that'll teach them.

Not only is this camp fantastically homophobic, and an extreme case of profiling, it's flat-out ridiculous. The 66 boys who were selected to go (and who are surely not embarrassed in the slightest) are set to start a schedule of physical training and other activities that will "prevent effeminate behavior." Razali Daud, the education department's director, sheds some light:

The boys involved were selected from most schools in the state. They were carefully vetted before a final selection was made.

Vetted? Are these boys running for office? And I'm curious, how do you vet one's effeminateness? Can you vet masculinity? Is there a special blood test? An oral exam? Please, let me know, Razali, because it's important I learn this before having kids of my own!

Daud also pointed out how there could be serious problems for these guys if their behavior went untouched. And he mentioned a couple of factors contributing to the issue -- parents dressing boys in girls' clothing "as they had really wanted a girl," or boys "surrounded by female siblings." Oh the horror! Having a few sisters! Forget about the fact that it could help boys become more well-versed in Woman, they could become gay! Gahhh!

I'm not the only person confounded and outraged. Malaysia's Women, Family, and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil, wants the boot camps abolished.

The experience of being singled out on the basis of perceived characteristics is an extremely traumatizing experience, in particular for adolescent teens. Such profiling has potentially serious psychological repercussions and could harm the development and mental health of the children, as it exposes them to prejudices among their peers and members of their family and community.

Right on, sister! This camp is absurd! It's not going to "fix" anybody. It's either going to traumatize these boys or be one heck of a couple weeks for the boys who are gay. "Hmm, you look like you might like boys. Here, I'm going to lock you up with a bunch for a few weeks to straighten you out!"

What I really hope is that this "macho camp" is shut down, and homosexuality becomes "legal" in Malaysia. But a close second would be to have all those boys cartwheeling out of the camp once it's done, more flamboyant than ever!

What do you think of a macho boot camp?


Image via boymeetswurld/Flickr

Read More