Dr Farish Noor was a participant in the public at the Seksualiti Merdeka festival last year. Seksualiti Merdeka festival was the first gay festival ever held in Malaysia. Articles by this Singapore-based Malaysian political analyst, seldom called Islamic reformer, and social commentator seldom appears on the blogs of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Raja Petra, Dzulkifli Ahmad, Tony Pua, Din Merican, and other liberal and political lefts.
News of the event on the website Asia Calling here reported Farish's staggering view on homosexuality. The snippet below:
Historian Dr Farish Noor delivered a lecture that argued homosexuality was ingrained in the regions history.Intellectualism or sympathiser of gay right? Is this opinion the manifestation of a closet gay?
“Homosexuality is not something imported from the West. It is not something imposed on us. In fact if anything is imported from the West is the laws that criminalised homosexuality. That’s been imported from the West. So I think struggling for the rights of gender minorities is part and parcel of the longer political struggle for the emancipation of South East Asian Societies.”
According to Dr Farish, the importance of Seksualiti Merdeka is to halt religious extremism entering mainstream politics.
“My fear is that if we do not find ways to normalise what has been rendered abnormal then this persecution and this marginalising will continue.”
The recent general election has showed that Malaysians are ready for political change.
But how far are we willing to confront the topic of same sex relationships remains to be seen. Society remains divided.
And think of this: A gay Islamic reformer intellectual? Remember Munawar Anes?