Denise Ho, an openly gay singer from Hong Kong, was forced to cancel her concert in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday after she was denied a permit to perform. According to a Facebook post by Ho, the government of Malaysia told her team over the phone that this denial was “because she is an active supporter of the LGBT community.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia. Offenders can go to prison for up to 20 years.
“The world is not as progressive as we imagine; that I know. But I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed for being once again turned down for my identity,” Ho said. “How many people have to live under a heavy mask, and how many of them can only look at the freedom of others, and then continue their lives?”
This is not the first time Ho has been at the center of controversy—the singer was arrested during a pro-independence protest in Hong Kong in 2014. She has also received criticism from Chinese fans for taking a selfie with the Dalai Lama.
As Ho explained, "This is part of my responsibility as an adult and celebrity, to fill the responsibility of civil disobedience."