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Current research involving LGBTQ people in Malaysia: A scoping review informed by a health equity lens

In Malaysia, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (collectively known as LGBTQ) are subjected to cisheterosexism that criminalizes, pathologizes, and marginalizes their identities. Given the relative cisheterosexist nature of Malaysian society, it is important to scrutinize the current trend of research studies that have recruited LGBTQ people as subjects. The present study comprises a scoping review of existing Malaysian studies involving LGBTQ people, as we set out to provide an overview of study characteristics, research methods, and literature gaps. Through systematic searches in the Malaysian Citation Index, PsycINFO, and PubMed databases, as well as additional hand searches, we included forty-four studies in this review. Our review noted many Malaysian LGBTQ studies explicitly focused on related topics of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (41%), men who have sex with men (39%), trans women (30%), and people from Kuala Lumpur (25%). Our review also uncovered STI risks, living experiences in relation to cisheterosexism, and barriers to access safe-sex measures, healthcare, and social support among Malaysian LGBTQ people. Drawing from the health equity framework, we provided recommendations for future LGBTQ research in Malaysia to avoid utilizing a pathological lens that stands in contrast with LGBTQ-affirming approaches, as well as to engage LGBTQ members throughout all research phases.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Institute for Population and Social Research
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