Transvestite beauty pageant held at Bachok Kelantan.

Malaysian authorities have sent 66 Muslim schoolboys whom they consider effeminate to a four-day camp where they will receive counseling on masculine behavior.

The education director of a northeastern state in this Muslim-majority country says the measure is meant to help prevent the teens from potentially becoming gay or transvestites.

Gay rights advocates criticized the effort Tuesday and called it a sign of homophobia.

Education official Razali Daud says the boys reported Monday for what is officially being called a “self-development course” after their schoolteachers identified them as students who displayed effeminate mannerisms.

Razali says it the first program of its kind in Terengganu state, which is known for religious conservatism. — AP