Journalist Sharaad Kuttan admits to being a gay atheist. Along with being “a Johor Baru-born, Singapore-bred, social science-trained, Pakatan Rakyat-voting, occasional gym-going, bald, feral Malayalee-type of Indian”.

In his latest Malaysian Insider column, Sharaad writes to reassure that he does not believe there is any reason to fear that his type will one day rule the world and “abolish the opium of the masses”, i.e. religion – “No, we (actually there aren’t many in my little box) will probably remain in our marginal little corner forever.”

How are the general public to understand the mainstream’s reaction to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in light of the police ban on the Seksualiti Merdeka festival scheduled to run from Nov 9 to Nov 13 [see below].

Here Sharaad suggests that the authorities are bowing to the Perkasa-PAS Youth bandwagon while at the same time noting the contradiction of the Islamist party’s youth wing trying to square their call for democracy and reform with their stand against fundamental liberties.

To read more on why Sharaad is saying that if PAS Youth does not uphold the secular nature of state, then supporting them is tantamount to helping the hangman tighten the noose around his “little liberal neck”, click here.

Understanding the outsiders

The planned Seksualiti Merdeka was to be a festival comprising talks, workshops and film screenings organised to help Malaysians understand sexual minorities and their rights to be free from discrimination, harassment and violence.

Seksualiti Merdeka has been held annually for some years and this year’s theme is ‘Queer without Fear’, with the event supported by a few prominent local and international NGOs plus the Malaysian Bar.

A recent release by publisher Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD) and Zed Books explores the LGBT community in Malaysia as well as examines the coercive control that state authority exerts over sexuality.

Title Policing Sexuality: Sex, Society and the State
Author – Julian C.H. Lee
Price – RM48

Policing Sexuality (192 pages) explores the regulation of sexual behaviour and identity, asking how and why nation states have sought to influence and control the sexuality of their citizens.

Julian Lee presents both theoretical and ethnographic literature, distilling common themes and causes, such as the influence of colonialism, class, religion, and national identity.

To purchase SIRD titles, drop by their showroom at:

GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise
11, Lorong 11/4E
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03- 7957 8342/3

Purchases can also be made online at bookshop.gerakbudaya.com or bookshop.gbgerakbudaya.com or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.