Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are You Sure Gays Are Not Harassed?

He has spoken. Who? Our most esteemed leader, Mr Lee Hsien Loong has spoken. He has mentioned that abolishing 377A would not end the argument whether it is morally, culturally, socially right to accept the sexual activities between homosexuals. He felt repealing the law would not give gays (I wonder why lesbians are not mentioned since they are part of the homosexual group of people) more space but in fact, it would cause more discriminations. Our bloggers, siewkumhong (Sponsor of the parliamentary petition), pseudonymity etc and aggregators theonlinecitizen and singapore daily have made extensive coverage on the ‘pink’ issue.

But there is one part of Mr Lee’s speech which I felt very strongly against. Quoted from Channelnewsasia:

The prime minister said gays in Singapore do have space and they are not harassed.

He said: "Homosexuals work in all sectors, all over the economy, in the private sector as well as in the civil service. They are free to lead their lives, free to pursue their social activities. But there are restraints and we do not approve of them actively promoting their lifestyle to others or setting the tone of mainstream society."

Did he not remember the gay cycling issue? A group of 40 gays went jogging along Singapore River but they were harassed by undercover police who followed and filmed them. They were not even having mass orgy nor were they nude. So why did the police do that? Did the authorities form a perception the gays would always stop by at some dark corners, take off their clothes and start having orgy sex whenever they meet? There is absolutely no need to waste taxpayers’ money to actively ‘monitor’ their activities this way.

The picnic at the Singapore Botanic Gardens organised by People Like Us was another. It was promptly turned down by the authorities as they did not want to turn the venue for interest groups to politicise their cause. What are they trying to politicise? Did the authorities think the gays might flaunt their assets in front of the tourists and nature lovers, or make them change their sexual orientations? If the government does not allow anyone to do anything which is above the law, I would deem that as an act of harassment.

There are so many incidents which I can use to rebut the PM that gays are not harassed. I am not a gay. Neither am I a gay activist. I just feel our society needs to be more inclusive and understanding towards this group of people. They are Singaporeans who are contributing their efforts to the progress of our nation.

Also read:

You've Got a Problem with Gays and Lesbians?
Nothing Wrong with Being Gay


psylence said...

You fail to understand the crux of the issue. No one cares what you do in private.

When you have picnics and jogging and try to be "visible" i.e. being public is when you better be prepared for the consequences. Being public in this instance is equated to subtlely promoting a particular cause which in this instance is subtlely promoting homosexuality.

Nothing wrong being done by the government here.

James Chia said...

But the fact is they broke no laws. Were they carrying banners telling everyone they were having a gay event and were they so rowdy that the event had to be eventually stopped by the police?

pleinelune said...

psylence, LKY would be so proud of you - classic case of social engineering. Singaporeans have been brainwashed to think visibility = political = bad. Anything out of the ordinary is bad.

And in any case, promoting queer visibility =/= promoting queer lifestyle. There is quite a strong distinction.

Cloudywind said...

nonono... i agree u missed the pt too... the prob wif those events are that our dear investors and tourists will SEE these gays. I guess our leaders are ok wif gays, as long as they stay away fr the public. Putting them all in Batam might have even crossed their minds...

James Chia said...

Cloudywind, oh dear.. sounds so familiar. Like shipping elderlies away to Batam due to the lack of land and resources in Singapore. Tsk.

Anonymous said...

he prime minister said gays in Singapore do have space and they are not harassed.

I think you got read the whole sentence. The prime minister that gays DO HAVE THEIR SPACE. It didn't say the gays can do anything they want. I don't know, but do gay bars and gay spas get raided under section 377A?? The fact is the gov rarely care about MSM. Do you get AIDS patients being charged because mode of transmission was MSM? The gov do give space to the gays. The gays must acknowledge this. The gov just didn't approve of the public display. 377a is not enforced. That is the message. Whether 377a stigmatises gays is another question. I think people hardly see gays as criminals. Some just feel uncomfortable. Do gays view themselves as criminals?