Our Students now will be busy looking for Gay and Lesbian

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Chances are that now, instead of developing team building and learning to respect one another for who they are, our students will be busy looking out for boys with tight T-shirts and big handbags.

They will also subtly “sweep” every girl to figure out if she could possibly be a lesbian. In short, they would become adept at stereotyping.

This is what the Education Ministry has encouraged by endorsing “guidelines” to help parents to identify gay and lesbian “symptoms” in their children so that these “tendencies” could be nipped in the bud.

Speaking at a seminar on “Parenting in addressing the issue of LGBTs”, deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the exposure of such symptoms was the best way to check the spread of such unhealthy phenomenon among students.

In effect, Puad has spread hate among these kids. He has also fanned the flames of intolerance and homophobia.

Our children must be taught to see the importance of human relations and respect the rights of all people irrespective of their sexual orientation. They must also be taught not to condemn or bully anyone based on how they identify themselves.

They need to learn to identify and protect themselves from sexual predators and not to label people based on their sexuality.

The unveiling of an education development blueprint by prime minister Najib Razak to swiftly raise standards right across the entire system clearly shows we are lagging far behind.

Our students are incapable of critical thinking. The standard of English is down the drains. Students’ proficiency ranks among the bottom one third of countries. The global ranking for local universities keeps dropping.

Najib said Malaysia is at critical crossroads if it hopes to make the leap to become a developed nation. But instilling such belief systems among students will not help the country make the jump as there is a famous saying that “obsession with a belief limits your ideas”.

People from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community face the worse forms of discrimination. They are already ostracized in schools and occupy the lowest position in the job market, where they are often harassed.

They are the targets of verbal abuse, sexual and physical violence. They are ostracized by their families and face hate crime-related sexual abuse.

If at all, the government and Education Ministry must teach students to stop the existing name-calling and instead look at ways to ensure the LGBT community has equal access to education.

In fact, this is binding on the government as it ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and Human Rights Charter before becoming a member of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, vowing to respect sexual rights as universal rights based on the inherent freedom, equality and dignity of all human beings.

The government has made many blunders. But this madness of discriminating against its own children and citizens must stop.

Let’s not fail our children.

Charles Santiago – Member of Parliament, Klang @mpklang