Tuesday, October 30, 2007

377A Issues: Social Acceptance of Gays and Lesbians

For quite a while, the "377A Penal Code Homosexuality Debate" has been a rallying point for many Singaporeans. Everyday, we are seeing more blog posts on this topic. I would admit it is, however, very difficult to determine if the reluctance to repeal 377A would eventually result in further discrimination against the homosexual population.

Basically we are dealing with 3 issues:

  • The right of gays and lesbians to have equal protection under the law
  • Christianity believes that homosexuality is a sin, and thus gays are fair game to marginalise and deny the benefits of married heterosexual couples
  • Conservative mentality

The first issue should have been a non-issue as irregardless of the sexuality of a person, every Singaporean should have equal and fair treatment as detailed in our Constitution and in our national pledge where we recite: “To built a democratic society, based on justice and equality..”. The second issue, however, is a religious one. Since it is a religious issue, we should all understand that religious beliefs do not have any place in our laws.

The third would be that of a perception or attitude towards homosexuality. In my opinion, those who have positive attitudes towards gay men, lesbians and bisexuals are those who say they know one or more gay, lesbian or bisexual person well - often as a friend or colleague and I think negative attitudes towards homosexuals could be prejudices that are not grounded in actual experiences but are based on stereotypes. So until it becomes clearer that homosexuality is not a choice but something people are born with, something which can not be preached against, and gay sex is not deemed to be the only culprit for the AIDS disease, I believe the government would just sit on the fence and not do anything.

But even so, I do hope the government sees the importance for society to be better educated about homosexuality to prevent the issue from turning into a serious social problem in the future. I feel educating all Singaporeans about sexual orientation and homosexuality is likely to diminish anti-gay prejudice. Accurate information about homosexuality is essential to young people who are first discovering and seeking to understand their sexuality—whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual.

We should show genuine compassion for others, even when we disagree with them and we should also take a firm stand for what is right.

Related articles:

The Kway Teow Man: On Section 377A

Cognitive Dissonance: Alternative Perspectives

No comments: