Monday, October 29, 2007

Singaporeans will learn

(Unpublished - Oct 25, 2007)

Singaporeans will learn

Dear Editor,

The ‘consensus’ reached is that private gay sex between consenting adults continues to be criminalised but not actively enforced, and there will still be space for sexual minorities.

Is this notion of ‘space’ for sexual minorities the same that belonging to us straight folk? To say that there will still be ‘space’ for gay men in our society, yet keeping the section 377A alive but passive, is not unequivocal.

‘Space’ consists of the social, the economic, the political, the legal and so on. These domains are not mutually exclusive. Would it be fair to provide sexual minorities with physical space and not grant them the legal space? This does little to curb stigmatism of sexual minorities. Worse still, it exacerbates stereotypical perceptions and reinforces homophobia, retarding or even reversing the integration of sexual minorities into society.

I believe a viable solution is the decriminalisation of private and consenting acts between adults, and the continuation of criminalising nonconsensual acts of sexual abuse, exploitation and bullying of minors and adults. To keep Section 377A is representative of the reality that we want some Singaporeans to be more equal than other Singaporeans.

There is a lot of moral rhetoric involving “Asian values”, “conservative majority” and “family values/unit” that has cropped up to combat the threats brought by the “gay agenda”. We only have to look beyond the rhetoric and know the embedded deeper-lying political agenda. Singaporeans will learn.

There is one thing we can take away from this episode. This is still hope for representative democracy in Singapore, despite the fact that some have called for Siew Kum Hong’s head, depriving him the right to represent Singaporean sexual minorities and in turn depriving the right of sexual minorities to be represented. Singaporeans now know that the so-called “gay agenda”, the true intentions and meaning of which have been overestimated by conservative folk, is not only the agenda of gay people, but straight people.

Ho Chi Sam

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