New GLBT travel guide to feature Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia

Posted on 05 May 2006 at 12:43pm
By En-Lai Yeoh Associated Press

Editor hopes book will foster more acceptance of homosexuality

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The editor of a new gay and lesbian travel guide to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia said he hopes the book will foster more acceptance of homosexuality which is outlawed in two of the three conservative Southeast Asian nations.

The “Utopia Guide to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia,” launched last April 21, is the first such guide for the three countries, said Utopia Guides editor John Goss.

“We are simply shining a light on an aspect of society that exists in every country around the globe, but one that has been mostly in the shadows here in Asia,” Goss told The Associated Press via e-mail from the Thai capital, Bangkok.

“I am hoping for positive repercussions [in the three countries],” Goss said. “The more that all aspects of human nature are discussed, the more at ease everyone becomes.”

Unlike Malaysia, majority-Muslim Indonesia does not deem homosexuality punishable by jail, but it remains a sensitive topic. Islamic hard-liners in Jakarta have also carried out their own raids on events considered un-Islamic and once attempted to shut down a transvestite beauty pageant.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 5, 2006.

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