PETALING JAYA: Pelangi Campaign, one of the organisers of Taylor’s Pride Week, says it is disappointed that Taylor’s University placed “business interests above safeguarding academic freedom and integrity”.
In a strongly-worded statement in response to the cancellation of the event celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, the NGO said it regretted the decision on the part of the management of Taylor’s University.
“The programme, themed ‘Courage in the Face of Adversity’, was organised by a group of Taylor’s University students who empathise with the social injustice faced by the LGBT community.
“They took the noble initiative of organising the event in order to raise awareness in society and engage the communities around them,” Pelangi said, chiding the university for not standing firm for the autonomy of its students and staff.
Yesterday, an LGBT public awareness campaign, scheduled for June 6-8 at Taylor’s University, was cancelled.
A pride march was also part of the three-day programme.
Pelangi Campaign, which was founded last August, seeks to advocate LGBT rights in Malaysia through outreach and bringing awareness to the general public as well as mobilising the grassroots section of its community.
Highlighting how institutions of higher learning were meant to be spaces where productive and critical discourse took place, and issues of importance to society could be freely discussed and debated, Pelangi said the Pride Week event was an opportunity for youth in the university to become catalysts for change.
“The Pride Week event is being held to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall tragedy of violence against the LGBT community in June 1969.
“One of the aims of this event is to combat the prejudice and discrimination faced by the LGBT community.”
Pelangi also highlighted how the “the state has perpetrated systemic oppression on LGBT spaces and discourses, including through the banning of Seksualiti Merdeka”.
“Such oppression goes against Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantee the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and expression for everyone.
“The shrinking of LGBT spaces and discourses is made worse by the acts of certain sensational portals in inciting hatred and discrimination towards the LGBT community.”
Although the statement did not give any details, the “sensational portals” referred to are believed to be pro-Islamists blogs that protested against the staging of such an event during the holy month of Ramadan.