KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 ― Those who are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) will not be admitted into the police force even if they qualify as such sexualities are not accepted in Malaysia, a top police official said today.
Though LGBT people are not discriminated from becoming police officers in Western countries like the US, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIGP) Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said that the “LGBT culture” cannot be accepted here owing to community and cultural sentiments.
“Till today, the LGBT culture is not accepted in this country, so based on that principle, we still maintain the current quota for men and women.
“If they have the qualification, they have to adhere to the practices accepted in this country,” Noor Rashid told a press conference here at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Jalan Semarak.
He was responding to a question if the Malaysian police force would start accepting applications from openly gay or transgender people, in line with changing times and the growing acceptance of such people in the West and even in India.
Last year, the southern state of India ― Tamil Nadu ― hired its first trans woman police officer, K. Prithika Yashini, The Hindu reported. The US also has a peer support and advocacy group for transgender law enforcement officers spanning the US, Canada, Australia and the UK, called the Transgender Community of Police Sheriffs (TCOPS).
“I am not the one who dictates this culture, but it is the acceptance of our community...we just follow our ways here,” said the DIGP today.
The local LGBT community remains in the shadows, particularly Muslims, fearing persecution from religious authorities in the predominantly Muslim country that has religious laws prohibiting same-sex relationships and cross-dressing.
Only a handful have stood up against the discrimination and marginalisation, most notably transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub who was also awarded for her grit by the United States government recently.
In the US, the New England police department formed the New England Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) in 1991 to support their officers who are from the LGBT community.
Boston Globe reported earlier this month that the group, which now has more than 300 members, has trained dozens of police chiefs on how to treat gay officers in their departments. The unit has also led police academy trainings to help recruits understand how to work with gay victims.
In 2014, the Forth Worth Police Department in Texas started rolling out videos to welcome a diverse working community into its force, targeting the LGBT community, single mothers, African-Americans as well as Hispanics and Latinos.