(Unpublished - July 16, 2010)
Argentina, a predominantly Christian country, recently legalised same-sex marriage.
I am very sad that multicultural and multireligious Singapore has not decriminalised consensual same-sex sexual intercourse, and legalise gay marriage, before Argentina did.
We Singaporeans and the government remain in a state of inaction and ignorance.
I am perplexed that there exist Singaporeans who believe self-identified homosexuals are dangerous people, hence deserving of criminalisation, censorship, defamation and abuse.
There are some who have conflated homosexuality with bestiality and paedophelia, which is not only an untrue association but borders on breeding hate.
The stigma remains so strong that even heterosexually-identified people fear registering their support for their queer-identified fellow Singaporeans.
There are also censorship laws that disallow the positive portrayal of gay people.
I believe there are no excuses for Singapore to be a truly diverse society, not only on paper, but also in reality.
A diverse society is characterised by tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect of differences in persuasions and orientations.
It will remain a farce every time the national narrative of multiculturalism, multireligiosity, meritocracy and diversity is reproduced, so long as segments of the Singaporean population remain discriminated.
Furthermore, most of us do not understand the implications of our inaction and ignorance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Singaporeans.
It is through inaction and ignorance that we become more intolerant.
That is why there are physical and emotional abuses leveled against young queer and questioning Singaporeans.
That is why queer Singaporeans have to pretend to be people they are not in front of family, friends and colleagues.
That is why in light of abuse and the lack of support, there are migration, broken families, health problems and even suicides amongst queer Singaporeans.
Both Singaporeans and the government must take the lead in fostering greater understanding and acceptance of persons of different persuasions and orientations.
We should not merely have anti-discrimination laws that protect traits that have historically been associated with riots and violence, such as race and religion, but also that of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The decriminalisation of Section 377A of the Penal Code and legalisation of same-sex marriage are two humble steps the government can take to truly fostering a diverse society.
We only have to see for ourselves the impacts of directing hate, misinformation, guilt and fear at other communities.
I ask not for bravery to challenge paradigms and moral ideologies, but just simply common sense as we strive to create a Singapore that is truly diverse.
Surely we are capable of having a maturity that matches our state of economic development.
Ho Chi Sam
Afterthoughts: I'm quite disappointed the Straits Times didn't publish this on its forum, but it was expected.