Thursday, April 21, 2011

Masculinity Camp

In Malaysia, 66 Muslim boys have been shipped off to a four-day camp where they will be instructed in masculine behavior so they won't turn out gay.

I didn't make this up. I'm good, but not that good.

Identified by their teachers in Terengganu state as effeminate, the boys range in age from 13 to 17. The Associated Press reported the poor kids "will undergo religious and motivational classes and physical guidance."

Physical guidance. I'm picturing an instructor standing by with a switch to knock out any swish.

The camp's purpose is "to guide them back to the right path in life before they reach a point of no return," said Razali Daud, the state's education director. "Such effeminate behavior is unnatural and will affect their studies and their future."

Imagine the shame these boys are feeling, knowing they don't cut the masculine mustard. The straight ones, when they grow up, will have reason to be homophobic. The gay ones are learning they're pariahs.

On the other hand, some of the gay boys might be grateful the state has put all this boyfriend material in one room.

Daud claimed the boys were "invited" to the camp, not forced to attend. After the camp concludes, parents and teachers will keep coaching them.

“It is not an overnight cure,” Daud said. “We can’t force the boys to change, but we want them to know what their choices are in life. Some effeminate boys end up as a transvestite or a homosexual, but we want to do our best to limit this.”

Daud's "best" is the worst, as some are now pointing out, according to CNN. Amnesty International criticized the boot camp and the fact that homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia.

Sarah Palin criticized Malaysia for not being visible from her house. Okay, that one I did make up.

Malaysia's Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil said camps like this one should be abolished.

"The experience of being singled out on the basis of perceived characteristics is an extremely traumatizing experience, in particular for adolescent teens. Such profiling has potentially serious psychological repercussions and could harm the development and mental health of the children, as it exposes them to prejudices among their peers and members of their family and community," she said.

I wish those 66 boys could have her as a counselor.