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Denise Ho denied visa to perform in Malaysia because of her ‘support of LGBT community'

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Source: Coconuts HK/BBC news/Youtube

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何韻詩

Hong Kong Canto-pop singer Denise Ho says she’s been forced to cancel a concert in Kuala Lumpur after Malaysian immigration authorities rejected her visa because of her support for the LGBT community. Ho, a prominent LBGT activist, was due to perform in the Malaysian capital on April 14 as part for her Dear Self, Dear World tour.

In a 

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, Ho, who is also a Canadian citizen, said her working visa application was rejected, seemingly for her support of LBGT rights. “Our co-organizers worked very hard for two weeks until we received an official phone call yesterday that my working visa has not been approved. According to colleagues who answered the phone, it is ‘because she is an active supporter of the LGBT community’,” she wrote. “Today, we received an official letter which contained no explanation of the formal reason except for one sentence: ‘A number of issues need to be addressed if the artist is brought in for the performance of this country.’”

Coconuts HK has reached out to Malaysia’s Immigration Department for a response. But in light of the department’s pledge to ban homosexuals involved in an LGBT+ Pride event last September, Ho’s claim doesn’t look all that far fetched. 

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 he did not “understand those who question Immigration about prohibiting individuals involved in the event from coming to Malaysia.” He added: “It (the gay event) is against our country’s culture and this is not just about Islam, but (the event) is too abnormal to us (in Malaysia).”

Human Rights Watch considers discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people “pervasive” in Malaysia, where sex between men is still criminalized under colonial-era sodomy laws. Just last week, a major newspaper in the majority Muslim country published a list of 

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, drawing anger and mockery in equal measure.

In her Facebook post, Ho lamented the state of affairs. “The world is not moving as we imagined, I know. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed about being rejected for my identity. A friend asked: ‘is this normal in Malaysia?’ But I would ask this, what is ‘normal?’” Ho said the concert’s cancellation was not so much the issue as the suppression of self-identity.

This is not the first time the outspoken activist has had performances cancelled over her activism. In 2016, Lancome canceled a concert they were to have sponsored in the mainland. While the French cosmetics giant said the cancellation was due to “possible safety reasons,” critics allege that the move was in response to comments in Chinese state-run media criticizing Lancome for cooperating with the singer given her support of the democracy movement.

advr.php?at=r&h=1&tid=35e532269cd25ce58820452695932b26&tx=Artemis&sid=UWUEZ1NnVzQ&cid=UWkCY1NlXTgGbA&bid=DDELaVNiUjRXMwA3&ts=1518810690hk-singer-denise-ho-denied-visa-perform-malaysia-support-lgbt-communityHo was one of the most prominent celebrity supporters of the Umbrella Movement in 2014, and was often spotted performing at the protest site. She was also one of the many protesters who were arrested during the police clear-out of the protest site in Admiralty.
 
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