Malaysian government vows to ban more LGBTQIA+ movies after Thor and Lightyear

The Malaysian government has confirmed that LGBT elements in the Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder prevented it from being released in local cinemas. Additionally, Lightyear has been banned in at least 16 Muslim-majority countries. Zahidi Zainul Abidin, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, said: “There was one film that did not pass the censorship, and that was the new Thor film. It touched on the LGBT theme, but now we see that there are many films with LGBTQIA+ elements that go unnoticed.” . the censorship.”

According to Zahidi, the government and the religious department (properly known as the Islamic Affairs Department) are dedicated to limiting the spread of LGBT culture in the country. He blamed the problem on foreign elements, claimed that LGBTQIA+ films were becoming more subtle in his methods, and urged public vigilance. “I am frustrated that it was the outside world that promoted LGBT,” he said in response to a question in Parliament.

Zahidi said the government was constantly monitoring movies and social media platforms for LGBT content and would “take severe action against people who promote such elements.” However, the minister revealed that, in addition to movie theaters and open television, his powers are limited and do not include streaming services based outside the country, such as TikTok or Netflix. “We can’t control overseas platforms that are easily accessible online, but we have no problem with domestic activities. We have always been firm and dedicated,” he added. This appears to free up Disney to stream the movies on the Malaysian version of Disney+ Hotstar, with Lightyear reportedly already available with an 18+ rating on the platform.

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Malaysia’s commitment to censor LGBTQIA+ content puts the country at odds with Hollywood studios and American producers. Many of these are moving in the opposite direction, increasing their efforts to represent social diversity (sexual preferences, gender orientation, language differences, and disabilities) both on and behind the camera. Zahidi advised Malaysians to exercise restraint and for parents to use the age control systems built into streaming platforms to limit their children’s access to LGBT content.

Malaysia has laws that encourage racial and religious tolerance among the country’s three main ethnic groups. However, homosexuality, whether male or female, is not tolerated in the Muslim-majority country. Malaysia’s federal penal code criminalizes all consensual same-sex relationships. Those found guilty face up to 20 years in prison and mandatory flogging.

“Neither the rights nor the evidence supports Malaysia’s current rehabilitation and criminalization approaches for LGBT people,” said Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of Justice for Sisters. “While framed as compassionate, the shows internalize social and structural discrimination and foster self-hatred among LGBTQ and gender-diverse people, as well as hostility among the general population.”

Malaysia has previously intervened to prevent the screening of films like Rocketman and the publication of a book titled Gay Is OK! A Christian perspective.