Malaysian Pastor is Out, Engaged, and Calling on Gays to Emerge
Openly gay Malaysian pastor Ouyang Wen Feng not only models a life of openness, honesty, and integrity; he also asks others to come out of the closet in order to demonstrate to fearful heterosexuals that they have nothing to be afraid of from their GLBT neighbors, friends, colleagues, and relations.
The 41-year-old pastor lives in the United States, reported UK gay news site Pink News on Aug. 9, but spends a good deal of time in his native Malaysia to work for gay rights. Homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim-majority nation, Pink News noted.
The AFP noted in an article posted Aug. 9 by American site The Raw Story that Ouyang is engaged to be married to an American man, a Broadway producer who proposed to him two days after marriage equality became legal in the state of New York.
"It was also the day of our two-year anniversary," Ouyang told the AFP.
Ouyang told the AFP that when social oppression drives sexual minorities into the closet, the only result is more oppression. Conversely, when gays live openly, heterosexuals can see for themselves that the stereotypes and myths perpetrated by anti-gay forces have little bearing on reality. As stigma evaporates, so does oppression, allowing more and more GLBTs to emerge into daylight.
"When gay people stay in the closet, people don’t know what is gay or homosexuality and because of ignorance they keep discriminating and that will perpetuate prejudice," Ouyang, who has written a new book about being gay and Christian, said.
"Gay people cannot just blame straight people for not understanding us," the pastor added. "Gay people should keep coming out and straight people who are okay with homosexuals should also come out to say publicly that being gay is okay -- ’I’m okay with my gay friends.’ "
The article noted that Ouyang had been married for nine years to a woman. She finally helped him to tell the truth.
"She encouraged me to come out," Ouyang told the AFP. "She asked for a divorce, and this is the biggest gift she could ever give me, she literally set me free. I owe her big time."
Ouyang provoked an uproar several years ago when he established an open and affirming Christian church in Kuala Lumpur. The AFP article related that the government refused to grant the church official recognition. Other clerics decried the church, saying that it would promote a gay lifestyle.
Ouyang brushed aside such notions, saying, "I am not promoting gay culture. I am promoting honesty, love and justice."
Ouyang has worked with Metropolitan Community Church, which supports and runs GLBT-affirming churches around the world, including intensely homophobic countries such as Jamaica.