I was a bit intrigued to see the headline that “Gay marriage proposal angers netizens” was being discussed in an online Malaysian queer community. Turns out, a gay couple in Tawau had a marriage proposal video go viral. It was a sweet video, with colourful bouquets, balloons, a bended-knee proposal, a long kiss, enthused friends, a speech I didn’t understand.

I feel so starved for local gay content sometimes, it just felt like there was finally an environment to breathe in that was gay AND happy and romantic and didn’t end in injuries or arrests.

And then, of course, some religious conservatives took it upon themselves to lodge a police report against them.

How small, hateful and black does your heart have to be to look at love between two persons, and so much joy at that, and to not only disapprove, but actually resort to bringing in the authorities? And to justify that with religion? I am so tired of how religion, and in particular Islam, is used as the hammer and shield in Malaysia — to beat others down, and to shield abusive people from very valid criticism.

I mean, aren’t you tired of these hateful homophobes? Aren’t you tired of gay people having to demand for their rights to exist and love? I’m gay and even I’m worn out sometimes by the constant conversation of all the rights we do not have. Just give us equal citizenship, let us love, let us fuck, let us do whatever straight people do. Let us put behind us such a huge burden of hatred and arguments.

To have such a romantic moment in our country also be paired with these unworthy responses. Sigh. We could do better. But some people don’t seem keen to be better.

Nevertheless, I hope there will be more love, more joy, more balloons, more bouquets, more proposals, more weddings, more allies, and much more acceptance. More of the good, more of the love. I feel I always need to have to keep some amount of faith alive, and so I feel we can do this.

I wish Ivan and Winson all the best in their marriage. It isn’t easy being gay in Malaysia, and they have overcome the odds to find each other and find love, and to have so many supportive friends as well. I hope their union brings them a lasting joy, and I offer my solidarity from the Semenanjung side.