Scottish travel vloggers Nessie and Becca claimed Malaysia isn’t safe for LGBT individuals or couples but did not specify what they meant by unsafe.
Scottish travel vloggers Nessie and Becca make videos about their experiences travelling as a lesbian couple.
They recently visited Malaysia and answered a question posed by one of their followers on TikTok.
The follower asked both Nessie and Becca whether it was safe to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) individual or couple in Malaysia.
In her response video, Becca claimed that it wasn’t safe to be an LGBT couple in Malaysia. She explained that whenever someone asked them, they would say they were friends and not a couple most of the time.
@nessieandbecca Replying to @C.C Its not safe to be publicly LGBT in Malaysia sadly 🥲 We enjoyed out time in Malaysia but the reality for us was that we had to pretend to be ‘friends’ and avoid any PDA. Safety is most important for us #lgbttravel #lgbtinmalaysia #malaysialgbtrights #lgbtmalaysia #lgbtsafetravel #lgbtsafety #travelsafety #visitmalaysia ♬ greedy – Tate McRae
She continued to say they felt “a lot safer” in touristy areas that are filled with tourists and they never showed public displays of affection (PDAs) like holding hands.
Before anyone panics, Becca did not specify what was safe or unsafe for LGBT individuals and couples in Malaysia.
She simply emphasised to her followers to follow the local laws and customs of the countries they visit such as observing modesty out of respect for the locals.
However, she likely based her understanding of our local laws and views regarding LGBT on a post by Human Dignity Trust, a UK-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that defends LGBT rights using the law.
In a video outlining the local Malaysian laws and customs to observe for travellers, she quoted Human Dignity Trust which stated that the LGBT lifestyle is criminalised in Malaysia and claimed that LGBT people are regularly subjected to discrimination and violence.
Anwar has said LGBT will never be recognized in Malaysia
During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in New York, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said LGBT rights will never be recognized in Malaysia.
However, Anwar added that the government does not condone excessive action or harassment against those who identify as LGBT.
Muslims and non-Muslims alike, there is a consensus – they do not accept this, open public displays of this (LGBT) but do we then go and harass them? That is a different subject. I do not approve of any attempt to harass.Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Regarding the confiscation of the Swatch Pride watches, Anwar said he has to respect the consensus of the people but “it should not be seen as harassment.”
When Amanpour brought up the sodomy law that was used against Anwar in the past, the prime minister said he had made it clear that the law should be reviewed to prevent abuses and political persecution.
Amanpour also asked if a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is something Malaysians would accept. In response, Anwar said people should exercise tolerance as the issue against the LGBT community is harassment, and that should be avoided.
What’s the law regarding the LGBT lifestyle in Malaysia?
Outside of Syariah law, Malaysia does not have a specific law that criminalises homosexuality per se.
However, we do have Sections 377A and 377B of the Penal Code which criminalises the “act of carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and it’s applicable to both men and women (regardless if you’re straight or LGBT).
Section 377D criminalises acts of “gross indecency” which carries a penalty of up to two years imprisonment.
Under Section 21 of the Minor Offences Act 1955, anyone regardless of religion or race can still be penalized for “indecent behaviour.”
However, there’s no clear definition of what the term “indecent behaviour” entails. This means the authorities can still interpret issues like transgenderism as “indecent behaviour.”