(Unpublished - Dec 3, 2009)
I refer to Mr Bernard Tan's letter 'Respect is fine but don't glorify' (Dec 3).
Like Mr Tan, I have gay friends. But unlike him, I have a different attitude towards my friends.
I do not hold bigoted misconceptions and spread myths about gay people that put them in a lesser position.
It is a myth to regard the sexual orientation or identity of a person, other than heterosexual, as a lifestyle.
With all due respect to people of faith, it is a condescending value judgement, and is obviously derived from religious dogma - that identifying as homosexual is wrong and immoral.
The word lifestyle suggests homosexuality is a temptation and one that can be chosen, rather than a legitimate identity, and for Mr Tan to classify the realities and lived experiences of gay people as a lifestyle is incorrect and disrespectful.
Unfortunately, it will require a paradigm shift for people to come to fully understand sexual orientation and sexual identity. They need to be readily open to information and studies from different fields, be aware of history and also be a little more self-interrogative towards their privileges and prejudices.
Some people will always be blind to their own prejudices. They are the ones who deem any neutral or positive portrayal of what they misclassify as "alternative" to be glorification, and attempt to create moral panics to mobilise ill-informed people to continue being prejudicial towards minorities. They attempt to be righteous as they demonise and alienate other communities.
I think we will never have respect, empathy, compassion or tolerance, given how we live our lives according to misinformation and myths that wrongfully represent other people.
I believe the government, the media and all of us have a responsibility to make Singapore a land of diversity with equality. Unlike sexual orientation, most of us can "choose" to be responsible.
I support the traditional family too, because I came from one and am about to start one myself. However, I do not see a need to glorify my choice nor shove the idea down the throats of others.
Ho Chi Sam
Note: It's been almost more than a week since I sent my letter, and don't think the Straits Times Forum will publish my letter. I'm having a real dry spell in the Straits Times Forum. Very frustrating when serious messages can't get published.