I just came back from a holiday on two islands in the South China Sea which I spent with half of my year (the two I mentioned in a previous post). We went over to the smaller island for our last night to have dinner. One of the waiters at our restaurant was very effeminate, simply because his voice was so high-pitched. Most of us found this funny, except for a few homophobes. I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help it. Some of the others even went to the extent of saying "I didn't here what you said. Could you say that again?" so as to get another response from him. He didn't seem offended, strangely enough.
Later when we were discussing it in the bus, some of the others were sympathetic to him, but some of them were also disgusted. It was pointed out that if the guy didn't want to be a source of entertainment, he wouldn't have behaved the way he did in front of us all. Actually, I'm not sure where I stand on this particular case, but I'm a little ashamed at the fact that I was laughing at him it's foreseeable in the future that I will be laughed at for being gay. Chances are, if I knew more gender-rebels, I wouldn't laugh at him, but that doesn't excuse it.
Then one of my friends said that this part of Malaysia, adorned with flags of the extremist opposition Islamic party, had a degree of tolerance for transvestitism/transexuality etc. that other parts didn't. I found this strange since generally religious conservatism is accompanied by Victorian attitudes towards sex and gender.