LGBT not a mental disorder, it's diversity, advocacy group tells PN

24 May 2023 09:46pm
Guy advocacy group Jejaka  - Facebook
Guy advocacy group Jejaka - Facebook

SHAH ALAM - Guy advocacy group, Jejaka said that being LGBT is not a mental disorder but rather a representation of diversity, said group's deputy president Dhia Rezki Rohaizad.

The statement was made in response to the remarks made by Salak MP Jamaluddin Yahya and Kapar MP Dr Halimah Ali who said the LGBT community is mentally disordered during a recent parliamentary debate on amending the Mental Health Act 2001.

The advocacy and welfare group for gay, bisexual and queer men in Malaysia said the proposition which contradicts global medical consensus perpetuates harmful stereotypes and discrimination against the safety and well-being of the LGBT community.

Its deputy president said, "This unfounded assertion in Dewan Rakyat is a disservice to the LGBT+ community and those genuinely struggling with mental health issues.

"Being LGBT+ is not an illness but a part of human diversity. It is high time our lawmakers recognise and respect this fact," Dhia argued.

Jejaka cited global health and psychiatric institutions including the American Psychiatric Association which removed homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.

Furthermore, it pointed that Mental Health Act 2001 is a legal document that defines mental healthcare services, the infrastructure and protecting the rights of psychiatric patients and healthcare workers.

Thus, the advocacy group concluded that the act in question is not a diagnostic guideline which does not have the place to define any condition as a mental disorder.

On the other hand, Jejaka wholeheartedly endorsed the standpoint of Miri MP Chiew Choon Man who firmly refuted the "groundless assertions" by the fellow MPs.

"YB Chiew highlighted the gravity of mental health reminding us all that it is a pressing health issue rather than a platform for political posturing or shaming any group.

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"We join MP Chiew in urging all MPs to take a considerate and informed approach to discussing mental health. This includes refraining from stigmatising statements perpetuating misunderstanding and discrimination against the LGBT+ community or any other group," the group said.

Jejaka said fostering understanding, acceptance and equality can create a nurturing and inclusive environment for all Malaysians battling mental health issues, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.