“Being gay in a homophobic country, with almost everyone and everything invalidating you and your experience and life, is lonely and depressing,” said Rawther, whose original name was Tahir.
“I was lucky enough to be blessed by supportive parents. Their acceptance and support mean the world to me and are absolutely beneficial for my mental health.”
Rawther, who came out to his parents in his late teens after going on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, told a Kuala Lumpur-based online publication of years of self-doubt over his sexuality because in conservative Islam homosexuality is condemned as a crime against nature and Allah.
According to a recent poll, more than four out of five Malaysians have highly negative views of homosexuality, which is illegal in the country.