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Malaysian student “missing” for three years found after Irish civil partnership

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  1. The current wave of homophobia in Malaysia means that Ariff should be very careful. He has been reported to the police for homosexuality, and might face prosecution if he were to return to Malaysia. See .

    I don’t know Ariff’s circumstances, but it is possible that he was given a bonded scholarship, in which case he might now owe state-owned fuel giant Petronas some money because he did not go back to Malaysia to work for them. Hopefully even if this is the case, the government will not press for its money back, particularly if Ariff has the support of the Irish government.

    Also worryingly, Muslim groups in Malaysia are using this case to demand that LGBT students should not be given scholarships to study abroad. In the current climate Ariff’s circumstances may yet become the pretext for another round of anti-gay rhetoric by politicians.

    1. I think the Malaysian government and Petronas are absolutely entitled to ask for their money back though.

      If this guy is fit and healthy then why on earth shouldn’t he be liable for the money they spent on him.

      Is he a qualified doctor now? Last I heard doctors are not exactly hard-up.

      He is no danger unless he returns to Malaysia (and he is under no obligation to ever go there again). He is CP’ed to an Irish citizen meaning that he has permanent residency in Ireland and within a couple of years can get an Irish passport.

      However the money invested in him will not now have any benefit to Petronas, so clearly he should be held liable for this. And he is probablly aware of this. In fact I think he may have went ‘missing’ to avoid it.

      1. @dAVID

        Its unclear whether he is a doctor, 2 of the articles in the Malaysian media suggest he did not pass his course – another states that he is now practicing as a doctor …

        I guess it depends on what the agreement is with the Malaysian government and Petronas (and ultimately how enforceable it is).

        If he is obliged to meet the costs then it would be fair that an arrangement be entered into that recognises his situation.

        1. It is irrelevant what he is working as now.

          If he allows his family to think he is dead for 3 years (not even a text; and then make them liable for debts he is liable for (and he is young, fit and healthy) then he really is an awful human being.

          The situation for other gay people in Malaysia does not apply to him seeing as he has permanent Irish residency and citizenship if he wants it

          1. Galadriel1010 19 Dec 2011, 3:58pm

            That rather depends on why he broke off contact with them, don’t you think?

          2. Indeed.
            Although it’s also possible that his family was involved in a scam with him.
            His mother visitied Ireland 8 times in the space of 3 years to find him and came up with nothing???

            Ireland is a small country. It’s difficult to disappear totally in Ireland – are we really meant to believe that he cut off contact with his entire family; and his college classmates, never to be seen or heard from any of them over the following 3 years, and this AFTER a missing person’s report was completed in Ireland (as well as Malaysia) and then out of nowhere like magic his CP pictures appear on Facebook. By getting the CP he was ensuring permanent residency in Ireland and could resurface safely.
            Did his family secretly know that he was well, but filed a missing person’s report in Malaysia as they all knew that he would be liable for his scholarship money if he failed to return to Malaysia?
            Is this why THEY are being pressed to pay back the money he swindled?

          3. @dAVID

            I am with Galadriel – it depends why the connection stopped …

            We all would be speculating on many aspects of this ..

            I think ultimately he owes the money, unless something extraordinary has happened that we can not predict or know …

            It is very easy to be hidden in many places – having searched for many missing persons – where many of them have been found was very surprising. So I am not surprised that his mother may have been to Ireland many times and not found him.

            The relevance of what he is working now is in terms of his ability to afford any obligation he may have (depending on what the agreement was). It could alter the manner in which the debt is settled.

      2. Another Hannah 19 Dec 2011, 4:21pm

        He should not have to pay the money back – how can he be held for a contract that he has to break due to their prejudice. if they want something back, end the prejudice, stop the familial attempts at blackmail, and then they’ll have the moral high ground. BUT NOT UNTIL.

        1. So a young, fit, healthy person obtains 180,000 quid’s worth of scholarship and training and should not be held liable for it?

          Well that’s 1 way of making certain that anyone suspected of being LGBT in Malaysia will never be allowed travel on scholarship again.

          After all why give scholarships to healthy productive gay people if they are merely going to disappear and then when they reappear they will refuse to pay back money they obtained, even though there is no valid reason to prevent them repaying it?

      3. Another Hannah 19 Dec 2011, 4:23pm

        also he probably does not have Irish citizenship and quite possibly may not be qualified as a doctor, so where are the assumptions that both of those statem,ents are facts coming from and why?

        1. He will be entitled to Irish citizenship within 3 years of getting CP’ed.

          And clearly he;s not currently working as a doctor (how could he be – that would surely alert the Malaysian authorities) but he is nonetheless highly educated (having received 5 years worth of university education at Malaysia’s expense). A highly educated, healthy person has no reason to dodge their debts.

        2. He will be entitled to Irish citizenship within 3 years of the CP (and possibly sooner). Prior to this he is still entitled to the protections of the Irish state.

          1. Although if the Malaysian authorities file a criminal complaint against him in Ireland (for fraud?) then he may lose his entitlement to citizenship.

            And Irish citizenship is unlikely to be granted to a non-Irish national who has an international arrest warrant against his name

          2. de Villiers 19 Dec 2011, 8:22pm

            Look! David posting yet -another- denunciation… shock! Calling someone appalling. Commenting on their obviously poor morals. There is a theme somewhere… everywhere…

          3. Indeed – I do think it’s appalling that someone would steal 180,000 quid.

            You’re a Jeebus freak aren’t you DeVilliers.

            Does your ‘god’ permit theft?

          4. de Villiers 20 Dec 2011, 8:53pm

            Everything is appalling for you David. And in turn, you are appalling to everyone.

  2. Ah – I should done a bit more research. Petronas HAS issued a summons for RM 890,000 (£180,000). . At the moment they’re demanding it from Ariff’s father in Malaysia, which has got the Malaysian blogosphere very excited.

    Ariff will be under huge pressure to return to Malaysia to work off his scholarship funds from Petronas. It is very important that Ariff is aware of his options. No gay person should have to return to a country where he or she may face prosecution for being gay, regardless of the terms of his scholarship.

    1. Hopefully he will become an Irish citizen a.s.a.p.

      If he entered a contract with Petronas, he is liable, not his father, unless his father was in some way signed up as guarantor.

      If he is sued himself, he should get advice from an insolvency practitioner.

    2. Interesting, isn’t it, that Petronas in only now demanding the money back (or so it appears)? If Ariff had died, I expect it would have been a different matter.

      I hate to say it, but it does rather seem as though Ariff hadn’t really thought through the consequences of breaking the terms of his scholarship.

      1. Of course they are onjly seeking their money now. It’s difficult to demand money from missing persons.

        It sounds to me like he thought long and hard about breaking the terms of his scolarship.

        He went ‘missing’ for 3 years and broke all contact with the Malaysian government, Petronas, and most bizarrely his family.

        Not a single postcard in 3 years.

        And he was only discovered by accident when his CP pictures showed up on Facebook.

        After getting permanent Irish residency.

        He needs to sort out his payment plan with Petronas quickly. If he refuses then his family are lumped with his debts, and other LGBT students in Malaysia may suffer.

        He is young, fit and healthy and needs to deal with his responsibilities now.

    3. Indeed, but it’s very unreasonable to expect him not to pay the money he took from Petronas back to them.

      Clearly while he was presumed dead or missing then it would be daft to ask him to repay it.

      However seeing as he is healthy and alive and in an Irish CP (meaning that he is entitled to stay in Ireland forever) then he should start making plans to start repaying the money he took.

      He is under absolutely no obligation to return to Malaysia to pay the money and he would be foolish to go.

      But no-one gets given a no-strings attached present of 180,000 quid.

      1. Did he go ‘missing’ to avoid paying back his scholarship money.

        He was being funded by Petronas in Ireland.

        I don’t know the terms of his scholarship but I imagine it meant that once he was qualitied he needed to return to Malaysia and work for Petronas ie so they get a return on their investment in him. And if he breaks these terms then I am certain he would be held liable for all expenses he had incurred.

        This is standard procedure.

        By going ‘missing’ he avoided this nasty reality of being landed with a huge bill.

        He will never have to return to Malaysia.
        Who knows what type of relationship he had with him family – very, very poor I imagine considering he broke all contact with them.

        But he has broken his contract and needs to start paying the money back.

        That’s only fair.

  3. Ariff definitely should be very cautious about going back. According to reports in the Malaysian press, Ariff’s mother intends travelling to Ireland to meet him and to persuade him to write to say that the debt should not be passed to his family. It sounds like a combination of genuine family concern (which is understandable given he has been missing) and potential for emotional and financial blackmail (whether deliberate or not) to try and “encourage” him back to Malaysia. Hopefully, he will gain Irish citizenship soon. I wish him well in his relationship with his partner.

    1. The debt absolutely should not be passed to his family.

      He is alive and well and healthy and should be accountable for the money.

      That’s why he went ‘missing’ I imagine – to avoid the nasty reality of his scholarship conditions.

      He is under no obligation to ever return to Malaysia. But if he tries to dump his debts on his family then he is a truly horrible person.

      1. “That’s why he went ‘missing’ I imagine – to avoid the nasty reality of his scholarship conditions.”

        Or to be with a man he loves, get civil partnered to him, and not love in an oppressive hell hole of a country where gay men are persecuted?

      2. Manu Malhotra 22 Dec 2011, 2:06am

        Seriousley dAVID? He went missing to avoid the debt? You imagine incorrectly, and if you had a few more pieces of information you would know that Petronas stopped funding him in 2009, around the time his father reporteds him “missing”. This is also the only article that says his family went in search for him 8 different time in Ireland since that report … Ariff himself has confirmed that he is in Ireland legally, and that the Irish officials and the Malaysian Embassy know he is living there.
        The fact of the matter is this entire situation is a smoke and mirrors routine to take the peoples focus off a rather huge corruption scandal that broke here a little over a week ago. With elections just around the corner you cant have a nasty things like RM250 million scandal fresh in peoples minds. If you were more aware of things in Malaysia you would know that this news item would never have seen the light of day if this young man were a Malaysian Indian, Malaysian Cjhines or Malaysian “Other”. He is Malay and Muslim, that is the onnly reason this is even “news”

  4. Stuart Neyton 19 Dec 2011, 1:39pm

    i’ve had gay Malaysian friends at university be open about their sexuality over here and return straight to the closet on finishing their studies. One of them actually works for Petronas now. It’s depressing to know what they’d go through if they lived openly over there. I hope he doesn’t return given the inevitable witch hunt.

    1. Why would he – he clearly doesn’t want to and now doesn’t have to seeing as he is in an Irish CP.

      He needs to sort out a repayment plan to avoid his family being held liable for his debts; and more importantly to avoid creating a backlash against LGBT students still in Malaysia.

      1. I can see what you’re saying David, I can. And in a normal circumstance I’d agree with you. However, we have don’t know the exact circumstances of this case to pass judgement. You’ve stated a theory that he went missing to avoid his debts… he might well have done. It’s also possible he stopped contact with his government, scholarship providors and family because they’ll all homophobic… Malaysia has been on pink news no end of times for it’s attitudes towards homosexuality… Quite frankly we just don’t know. Hell he could be some secret Malaysian spy who decided to defect from his country and now drug lords are after him, I mean unlikely, but you see my point :P

        He should own up to his responsibilities and repay the money in my opinion, yes, and it shouldn’t be passed onto his family the way it has been (but again we don’t know the details of the scholarship agreement)… But quite frankly, I don’t blame him for turning his back on his government, I would too in his situation, as for family and scholarship details? Well we can only guess

        1. I tend to agree with dAVID on this one … although I accept we do not know the full circumstances …

          Unless there are exceptional circumstances that are not obvious currently then I would presume Ariff should be liable for the scholarship amount (or at least some of it) dependant on the agreement that was in place.

        2. “It’s also possible he stopped contact with his government, scholarship providors and family because they’ll all homophobic… ”

          That’s no longer a valid excuse though.

          Now that he is CP’ed to an Irish citizen he is free to never again to visit Malaysia; Petronas or his family.

          However even if his family are homophobic then they should not be held liable for his debts.

          He is fit and healthy and in no danger; so he needs to face up to his responsibilities and set out a plan as to how he is going to pay back the money he owes

          1. If Malasia and Petronas want their money’s worth then they need to change their oppressive laws. He can’t pay the money back from a Malasian jail

          2. So Hope – even though this person needs never to visit Malaysia again; you think that it’s OK for him to land his family with a 180,000 quid bill for the money that was spent on him? And in doing this he is jeopardising the scholarship prospects of many other Malaysian LGBT students in the future?

            Wow – you have a messed up sense of perspective.

            For the 5th time. He is young, fit, healthy and highly educated. He is in a CP with an Irish citizen. He broke the terms of his scholarship and has been told that unless he pays back the money spent on him already; his family will be liable for it.

            Why on EARTH would he think he can get away without paying the money back.

            Bearing in mind that he never has to return to Malaysia if he chooses not to.

  5. Who paid for the 8 trips by his parents to Ireland? Obviously (?) they are not a poor family. Still. we don’t know the details of his gaining education money from the company. How it was to be repaid. Also, isn’t there a medical school closer to Malaysia? Why would the oil company pay to send somebody to a medical school halfway around the world?

    1. Pastor Rich N. fat 20 Dec 2011, 3:12am

      The Malaysian Health Minister stated that homosexuality is caused by eating too much ladies’ fingers ( okra ). Wouldn’t you send a medical student abroad for an education in the face of such ignorance?

    2. In a situation like this the conditions of scholarship would be that the company pays for the education, and upon complettion the student would work at the company for at least a minimum amounf of time.

      If the student breaks the conditons of the contract then he would be liable to repay all the money spent on him so far.

      in this instance he received a 5 year education (the length of a medical degree) and then disappeared.

      Irrespective of the laws regarding homosexuality in Malaysia (which no longer apply to him as he is now in a CP in Ireland) someone who breaks the terms of their scholarship would be in the exact same financial spot as he now is.

      The sad thing is of course that unless he repays this money then his family will be liable for it; and also in future he will be jeopardising the education prospects of other Malaysian students.

      By the way I suspect this whole thing may have been a scam and that the 8 trips to Ireland by his mother were paid for by her ‘missing’ son. After all he’s a qualified doctor now who can well afford to pay for holidays for his parents.

      1. @dAVID

        You are probably right regarding the type of scholarship that may be relevant here … although we do not know that for fact …

        It would be interesting to know more of the agreement regarding the scholarship and more of the reasoning behind the decision to go missing …

        Without this we may have very good theories which make sense, but that is all that they are …

  6. Reading of all these comments, they are bunch of speculations. We have not heard a single word from Ariff himself about his condition and problems with the govt and families.

    The only speculation that I have, is that, he wanted to stay in Ireland. He probably experienced some difficulties in finishing his study. He might be having a tension between him and his father.

    Also, out of the blue, the scholarship committee decided to chase him for repayment after all these years, especially, once they have found out about the gay marriage. I believe, in that tactic, the family and the government is suggesting to force him to go back to Malaysia for good under the banner of ‘take your financial responsibility’, while, the real issue/reason might be too political – that, he is a malay muslim – gay, married, – in Malay community – the sense of entitlement is very strong. So, he can’t just be himself, he is bounded by his cultural and religious restraints.

    1. The scholarship committee did not start chasing him for repayment ‘out of the blue’.

      They started chasing him for repayment after his CP pictures appeared on Facebook after he had been ‘missing’ for 3 years.

      1. Yes. That’s my point. He signed up the loan/scholarship with a guarantor, either his dad or others. Even if he was ‘allegedly’ missing, the committee should have chased the guarantors first, not till, suddenly he appeared on the internet just by looking at pictures. It is very highly suspicious. He also told that he still remains in touch with his family, except with his dad. He had a fall out with his father since 2009.

        Like you and others, I only can speculate that he is being called to payback because of his sexuality as if the reason of repayment is in suggestion to force him to come back home so the family or the religious authority would probably attempt to ‘fix’ him – turning back into a hetero Muslim. In Islamic country such Malaysia, especially with the Malays, they have strong communal responsibility. So if one Muslim is considered drifting apart from religious belief, they would all get upset in the urge to defend the name of religion,race and nation.

        1. He does not need to return to Malaysia. He is in an Irish CP.

          It is only fair that regardless of his reasons for going missing that he now pays the money back.

          He is young, fit, healthy and has received a high level of education at someone else’s expense.

          Why shouldn’t he pay the money back?

          If he refuses then he is simply making it more difficult for other Malaysian students (who are not in European CP’s) to get foreign scholarships.

          1. The problem with this mess is ; it is not my business to ask him to pay back his loan nor your concern as well. They should have handled this personally. A few info have been re-surfaced that Ariff stopped talking to his father since 2009 and still maintains close contacts with his family members.

            We do not know the exact details , when or the time line of the repayment summon. Why asking now after the buzz of his gay wedding? There is always a motive. You are more concerned about the debt than the homosexuality issue. The debt can be paid off, his sexuality will always be an issue. Its an Islamic country for crying out loud.

            So, you believe material debts are far more important than his life?

  7. GingerlyColors 20 Dec 2011, 6:29am

    Sadly Malaysia is just one of many examples of former British colonies that have retained their outdated laws against homosexuality and repeal of those laws seem unlikely in the near future due to increasing Islamic influence in the country where 60% of the population are Muslim.
    I hope that Ariff can settle in Ireland and find happiness there thanks to his Civil Partnership with an Irishman and enjoy the tolerance and cultural richness of the Emerald Island.

    1. Oh you people… focusing more on his financial responsibility to pay back. The MAIN/MAJOR issue is his sexuality. He is a gay muslim – OUT. Had he been a straight male married with a white girl – this wouldn’t be such a big issue. If you have not following all the blogs talking about Ariff, most people are appalled because how open he is, the fact, he got married with a dude. The scholarship issue is just like a garnishment of the entire story.

      1. “The MAIN/MAJOR issue is his sexuality”

        His sexuality is only the major issue if he decides to return to Malaysia, which he is under no obligation to do so, ever again, now that he is in a CP with an Irish person.

        As he is in no physical danger, it’s only reasonable to inquire how he is going to settle his debts.

        It is simply not OK to steal and then say ‘Oh it’s because I was gay, and because I’m gay I should not have to pay it back.’

        Simply saying ‘oh he’s an oppressed gay so he shiouldn’t have to pay’ is unreasonable for 2 reasons:

        1. He is young, fit, healthy, highly educated and absolutely able to pay that money back.
        2. If he refuses to pay the money back then his family get lumped with it, and other LGBT Malaysian students may find it far more difficult to get scholarships abroad thanks his actions.

        1. are you a malay/malaysian? Do you actually know the malay mentality in Malaysia especially the conservative part of the population?

          1. He is asked to settle his debt. Yes. That is valid. However, why now? Just because he suddenly appeared on the internet? He had a guarantor for signing up the term & agreement. If he was allegedly missing, they would have chased the guarantor first. I do agree that he should start paying his debt. But I think the debt issue is only as a catalyst to force Ariff to go back home just because he is now gay, and proud to be one – which is the very offense for a malay muslim.

          2. LGBT Malaysian students still be able to get sponsorship unless they start screening students based on sexuality? Homosexuality is still a taboo in Malaysia. People can speculate, but if you are proud to be one – You better be ready with a shield, or else – they are going to start mocking, chastising.

          1. 1. Perhaps the authorities felt it was cruel to lumber a grieving family with the debts of their seemingly dead child?
            Perhaps a guarantor cannot be called upon to repay the debts if the location of the borrower is unknown, or whether it is unknown if he is dead or alive. I don’t know. You don’t know.

            You are jumping to an awful lot of unfounded conclusions yourself, you are aware of that are you not?

            And yet you refuse to answer why a young, fit, healthy, highlly educated person who is in no danger, should not be held liable for money he swindled?

            Way to improve the situation for the LGBT population in Malaysia!

  8. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Dec 2011, 10:52am

    @ Father Ted, re “Hopefully he will become an Irish citizen a.s.a.p”. Why exactly? If he’s used civil partnerships as a way of claiming residency in a country? That just amounts to a sham marriage. Why not claim asylum in a country if he fears persecution? And yes Petronas are totally entitled to requesting their money back. They’re a multinational not a begging bowl.

    1. Well I think we should assume that the CP is real. To get a CP or a civil marriage in irelanf you need to give the registrar 3 months notice, so they certainly did not elope.

      He would not have been able to claim asylum in Irelad without surrendering his scholarship as Petronas and the Malaysian government would not have continued funding someone who said they were persecuting him.

      I think the most likely occurrence is that after 5 years in a gay friendly country he decided that he wanted to stay in Ireland, but if he did that then he would need a resident’s visa (as opposed to a temporary student visa); and also if he had stayed he would have been liable for all the momey spent on him.

      So he ‘disappeared’ (with the collusion of his family I suspect).
      His CP pictures appeared on Facebook. And they were seen in Malaysia?

      Either way this guy has swindled Petronas and the Malaysian government out of a lot of money, and he is fit, healthy, safe and highly educated, There is no valid reason to not repay the money.

      1. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Dec 2011, 1:41pm

        He certainly doesn’t appear to have had the collusion of his family. Further reports on other sides and publications say his family visited Dublin on five separate occasions to try and track him down then filed a missing persons report and now the father has been ankled with the Petronas debt.

  9. In the Irish Times newspaper website today this person claims that he has never been missing; but that his father reported him missing to the Malaysian authorities in 2009 after a fight. But that he has been in regular contact with his mother and family members since then.

    He also claims that he has been legally resident in Ireland for the last 8 years (ie between the time he was a student and when he got CP’ed)

    However his scholarship was stopped in 2009 when he was reported missing.

    I presume after 6 years (in 2009) he would have been qualified as a doctor. As doctors are in high demand everywhere he apparently was granted a work permit for Ireland.

    As he had been reported ‘missing’ there was no pursuit of him by Petronas or the Malaysian government their money. The 8 trips by his mother were merely holidays and that the authorities are pursuing his family for the money for false pretences.

    The homophobia of Malaysai is incidental here. He is being pursued for fraud.

    1. “The homophobia of Malaysai is incidental here. He is being pursued for fraud.”

      I disagree. The evidence is contrary to this.

      See the Irish times article: “The Malaysian police have been urged by Muslim groups to investigate the issue on the basis that Mr Rosli has failed to adhere to the country’s Islamic laws” (

      I dare say this is not solely about fraud.

      1. The internet pictures surfaced after his father talked to a Malaysian reporter regarding his debts liabilities of almost 1 million Malaysian Ringgit. It’s not BEFORE like some of the comments above.

        Some guys from a Malaysian social forum networking sites were debating about his debts burderned that falls to the parents. Some people were discussing that this could be consider a fraud case.

        During that period nobody knew he had married to a guy. Suddenly, voila this one chap posted some pictures of this particular Malay guy during the wedding ceremony and asking could be this guy Ariff. Everybody started guessing around comparing his old photo taken from the Malaysian journal a day earlier. From there on some private blogs picked up the debate and photos from the forum and the rest is what we having now with all the Muslim groups, politicians joining in the foray.

        So initially, it was just supposed to be a story about a guy making a burderned to his parents with his massive study loans turns into a gay bashing issues.

        1. How is that a fraud?

          He signed up for the loan. His dad is the guarantor. In the eyes of the law, if Ariff can’t pay, his guarantor should take care of the business. You can’t force someone to pay debt if they do not have money to pay for it. and If Ariff does, then this ‘debt’ issue should be handled at personal level, between, him and his dad and Petronas. No government official should intervene or religious authorities to meddle with his debt issue.

          The problem with the ‘debt’ and ‘gay wedding’ is the moral issue and standing of malaysian tenets. Culturally, the son should not burden his parents with adult responsibility such as paying off student loan. Malaysians are more pissed because of the moral issue here. However, if the father is the guarantor, he is still responsibility to honor the agreement. If both parties can’t afford to pay, they have to come up with a solution and negotiate with Petronas, which is not OUR CONCERN or nobody’s business.

      2. Manu Malhotra 22 Dec 2011, 2:10am

        I totally agree with you Will … dAVID sounds like one of those Cybertroopers working for the Malaysian govenment we here in Malaysia are only too aware of.
        As for fraud … the malaysian govenment need only look in its own backyard to find fraud on such a scale as to make this look like stealing candtyfrom a baby.

  10. David chukwuka 23 Dec 2011, 1:24pm

    Sadly i’ve never loved malaysia and nigeria when it comes to human rights. Annoyinly they use religion to back up this hate. Well they won’t be seeing him anytime soon as he just entered a civil partnership. Hooney should be the first thing on his mind. Lol @ malaysian bigots

  11. homophobia can lead to tourismophobia, so I think a boycott of tourism towards this country could be the right answer , especially coming from persons who sympatise with the same-sex reality.

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