A gay pastor in Malaysia is urging gay people to come out in order to tackle homophobia.

Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng, a controversial figure who runs a gay-friendly church, is thought to be the country’s only openly gay pastor.

Although he now lives in the US, he frequently returns to Malaysia to call for gay rights, despite the country outlawing homosexuality.

Speaking to AFP last week, the 41-year-old said: “When society discriminates against gay people, you only push gay people into the closet.

“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.

“Gay people cannot just blame straight people for not understanding us.”

He added that gay people should show others their “true faces and tell them who we are”.

The Rev, a former journalist, came out in 2006. He now lives in the US and works as a staff pastor and sociology tutor, while pursuing a degree in theology.

He said that the gay-friendly church he co-founded in Kuala Lumpur is now “growing and developing”.

Earlier this year, reports said that one Malaysian district planned to send “effeminate” boys to a campwhere they could be dissuaded from growing up gay or transgender.

A Terengganu state official said that 66 boys, aged between 13 and 17, were identified by teachers as having effeminate mannerisms.

Campaigners said the scheme was dangerous and would not work.