A Cantopop star, who grew up in Canada, has been barred from performing in Malaysia due to her support of LGBT people and rights.
Hong Kong–based Denise Ho Wan-see (何韻詩), also known as HOCC, announced on February 15 that her concert scheduled for April 14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was cancelled.
Ho, who was born in Hong Kong but raised and educated in Montreal, came out as a lesbian in 2012 and is an LGBT activist. She stated in a news release that a work visa to stage the concert had been denied due to Ho being "an active supporter of LGBTQ community".
Although she was informed she would be permitted to visit Malaysia, she was also told she would be prohibited from performing.
She added that the letter she received on February 15 from Malaysia's Ministry of Communications and Multimedia was vague, and that it stated that "a number of issues need to be addressed if the artist is brought in for the performance of this country".
Ho expressed her disbelief about the rejection, adding that she hoped this incident would highlight the situation that Southeast Asian LGBT people live with.
"The unreasonable censorship imposed by the Malaysian government is a major setback to the advocacy on diversity and inclusion, which should be embraced and protected at all costs," she stated.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the predominantly Muslim country due to a colonial-era law, with punishment of up to 20 years of imprisonment.
This past week, Malaysian newspaper Sinar Harian came under fire for publishing tips on how to identify LGBT people. It included a list of negative stereotypical traits, including men wearing tight shirts to show off their abs and women who are extremely jealous and hate men.