Mitch Yusof

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[00:00:00] This recording was made up a second, the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference, held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:09] I'm Mitch, I'm from Malaysia. I'm here because this is where my family is. The community [00:00:16] what a human rights like for queer communities in Malaysia. [00:00:23] You heard my laughter. When they say that human rights, you know, when they said walk the talk, they don't walk the talk. There's a lot of discrimination, especially against the LGBT community. Lots. And it is, I am very disappointed and very perplexed on how they see the LGBT community. I mean, maybe they think that we're not human. [00:00:53] What kind of discrimination? Do you have examples? [00:00:56] Yeah, like recently, one of our gay friends came out in a video Yo, that's called I'm gay. I'm okay. Right? Have you heard about it? Yeah. And then when he was on YouTube, it was flooded with messages, even death threats, and the government did not do anything about it. Instead, what they did was to condemn the person, the game, the man that did the video for outing himself, you know, so instead of saying to the others that threatened him and said, you know, you shouldn't do that just because he's gay, but they the government condemn the gay guy. So I am very perplexed and disappointed with a set of the government in that aspect. [00:01:39] How did he handle all that? All that negative publicity? [00:01:42] Well, the last time I met him, he was very, the video has been pulled out. Okay, and who was very difficult for him to smooth things out with his parents. Other than that, he needed a lot of support from the community. Yeah. [00:02:05] What about your own experience in Malaysia? [00:02:07] Well, I think maybe because I don't care what people say. So even if I'm walking, and they just said, Look, cure, and I and I just walk away, because you know what, it's my life. And no one has got the right to dictate who and what I am. Yep. And so that's why I feel at home, amongst the community amongst the family here. [00:02:30] Have you ever been to a conference like this before? [00:02:33] Not for the LGBT community? I've been for the HIV and AIDS, but not for the LGBT. This is my first time. [00:02:41] And what is the best part about the conference? so far? [00:02:44] A lot of networking, a lot of sharing of information. But I think my main my main interest of being here is to learn and best practices from other other countries, which I can then [00:02:58] practice it over. [00:03:01] Are you part of any support or queer LGBT organization in Malaysia? [00:03:07] I am working with an NGO CBl, it's called PT foundation or otherwise known before as being triangle. [00:03:16] Is that said, [00:03:17] and what does that do? [00:03:19] Well, we are into HIV and AIDS prevention, HIV and AIDS prevention, amongst the five marginalized communities, which are the MSM, men having sex with men, the drug users, the sex workers, the transgenders, and also people living with HIV themselves. So it's because of our situation in Malaysia. So it's more about HIV and AIDS instead of advocating for gender and sexuality rights. Yeah. [00:03:48] What are the biggest challenges you faced in Malaysia? When it comes to gay and lesbian issues? [00:03:55] challenges? Almost everywhere, there is always denial on the existence of the LGBT communities. Yeah, it's like, as long as you don't shove it to my face, I'm okay with that. And if you are gay, okay, fine, be gay behind closed doors, don't come out and just shove it my face and say that you're gay, that I cannot accept. That's the kind of mentality that they have. I mean, maybe I'm talking through experience. And I may not be talking for all but how I experienced the situation is that's how it is. [00:04:33] So there is some tolerance. [00:04:35] tolerance. Yes. There's some tolerance. But you know what, they got this? I think they've got this group mob mentality. If one says, Let's kill the gays, they all will kill the gays. [00:04:48] What do you think would have to happen in Malaysia for things to change for things people more accepting? [00:04:52] Wow, that's a lot that that's a long journey. I think what should happen is the change of mindset. Yeah, but it's got to start both ways, whether it's from top and bottom is but start small tenuously, because if it starts from the bottom, and the top, don't change their mindset, it's not going to make a difference, right? It's a long, long journey, and I dread to think about it. [00:05:20] If somebody is listening to this in 50 years time, what would you like to say to them? [00:05:26] I would say, and is the person are they gay? [00:05:30] Okay, I'm just gonna say it's much better than [00:05:35] you think it will be? [00:05:37] Really, I really, really hope so. But you know what? People always say, there's no hope you have to act on it. So [00:05:47] that's right. How did how do you translate the words that we hear on this conference into actions? What What will you do when you get back home? [00:05:54] Well, what I have to do, for example, I've been listening a lot about about what's the best practice isn't all that so I just have to put into practice and my organization, for example, know how and how they have dialogues. Instead of looking at from my perspective, I should be looking at from the other side, and maybe they'll be able to be able to understand them, and interpret it to them so that they are able to understand what I'm saying. Yeah.

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