KUALA LUMPUR: The Government's offer of welfare aid to homosexuals should be extended to the Mak Nyah (transgender) instead.
Pink Triangle Foundation programme director Raymond Tai said most homosexuals were "well-to-do" as they were employed just like "normal people" and would only face discrimination if they were open about their status.
"They are not like the Mak Nyah who are physically different. The Mak Nyah do not get employed and this results in them prostituting themselves," he said.
"They are the ones deprived of basic privileges such as education and employment, not homosexuals."
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen had on Wednesday said homosexuals were also eligible for welfare aid and said they could apply for it if they meet the necessary requirements.
Tai said helping the Mak Nyah would help them overcome discrimination.
Foundation advocacy manager Danny Teoh said there were other aspects that needed to be addressed.
He said this included encouraging homosexuals to be brave in talking about their sexual proclivity.
"The public should be aware and understand that sexuality is a personal affair and should be accepted," he said, adding that only then would homosexuals come forward to ask for help. However, he said expecting a person to be open about his sexual preference was not easy and should be handled properly.
Pang Khee Teik, founder of Gender Genres, a group of writers who write about homosexuality issues, said charity could also be considered a form of discrimination.
"Though it is a well-intentioned move by the ministry, I do not think it would solve the problems faced by the homosexual community."
He said the Government must address discrimination against homosexuals, adding the money allocated for welfare could be used for campaigns to educate the public on sexual orientation.