Okay, this is going to be a little related to politics. Before you roll your eyes on this 'blog post about politics', let's face it: being in a country with an established political system, everything in your lives is about politics. Your education, employment, salary, the place you live in (cukai pintu, cukai tanah etc.), the fast food you eat (service tax etc.), and even the water you drink (water supply) and air you breath in (law enforcement of air pollution prevention etc.) are all about politics. There's no way you can run away from politics. It affects every aspect of your life, probably negatively if you do not pay attention closely enough to safeguard your rights. Don't live thinking to stay away from politics because it is dirty, complicated and dramatic—it will hit you someday in some way.
Anyway, I'm trying my best to write this blog post more as an LGBT issue than as a political issue.
Malaysia has been well known for going against LGBT. From censoring Lady Gaga's song for its lyrics voicing support for LGBT people, to the suggestion to set up a camp to correct the behaviour of effeminate boys and the 180-degree change of the stance, banning of an annual sexuality rights festival which has been held without problem since 2008, to a protest for the 'rights' of Muslim to be against homosexuality and rally against 'unacceptable lifestyle' of LGBT people.
If you look at each one of them more carefully, they only became issues in recent years, not quite before the political tsunami of 2008. From this, anyone with a little understanding on Malaysian political landscape and a little common sense can easily tell that they are at least partially (if not wholly) cooked up by some politicians to gain cheap publicity. I don't think I should explain too much on how LGBT issues can help certain politicians garner more votes. But if you really need further elaborations, I will be glad to explain to you via emails.
In 2008, the alliance of the long standing incumbent parties Barisan Nasional (the National Front) won the election by a close margin over the alliance of three major opposition parties named Pakatan Rakyat (the People's Alliance). According to politics observers, the upcoming election will be another fierce fight between the two parties, and it's estimated that the winning margin is about 3% to 10%, which means 3% to 10% of the voters will decide which party gets to form the cabinet. 3% to 10% of the people is easily about the estimated size of LGBT people in Malaysia! In other words, if all of us register ourselves as voters, our demands (for basic human rights) will be heard and most likely be answered too!
Pang, the founder of Seksualiti Merdeka (and no, it does not mean seks bebas, it means freedom to choose the gender of our lover), wrote a very insightful blog post on what the Members of Parliament should do to get our support, which can be translated into what kind of MPs we should vote for.
I urge all of us to register ourselves as voters (it might be too late already if the election is held in June as rumoured, but we never really know when it will be held! It may be as late as 2013). Try to register as a voter in your hometowns, if possible—there may be hassles going back to your hometowns to vote but analysts say one vote in a suburban or rural constituency can be equivalent to 6 votes in an urban constituency. So your votes in Klang Valley is not as precious and as powerful as those in your hometowns.
And for those of you who are currently overseas, you may be eligible to vote too. But you need to register yourselves via the Embassy or High Commission of Malaysia in your respective country of residence. Even if you're considering to immigrate some time later, I know it's your right to choose to immigrate but I urge you to register and vote too. You are probably unhappy with this country to consider immigration but before you leave, please think of the plight of the rest of Malaysians who can't afford to immigrate. Your votes count.
Whether or not we can make a perception shift in Malaysians towards LGBT this time probably depends on how well we voice ourselves. Please voice your support on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networks you're in. Let the politicians hear us and make them know WE are the ones deciding who will be in the Parliament and so they better treat us well.
Really, now minority like us LGBT people have the real power of voting. Let's make use of this golden opportunity to demand for the basic human rights we have been deprived of.