SAFE responds to MM Lee’s comments on homosexuality

Below is a SAFE press release in response to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s comments on homosexuality and the Penal Code, as reported in a recent Reuters article.

PRESS RELEASE
27 April 2007

SAFE is a group of family and friends who affirm and support gay and transgendered people as persons with equal rights to respect, dignity, acceptance and empowerment in society.

We are writing to express our appreciation and thanks to MM Lee for his recent comments at the dialogue with Young PAP and the interview with Reuters.

We appreciate the two cogent points he made,
1. That homosexuals are born with this propensity and not by choice. It is a genetic variation, not an aberration.
2. That the existing criminal law against homosexual acts in the Penal Code is outmoded.

We at SAFE fully agree with and support these points and are hopeful that the law that criminalises homosexual acts will be abolished in the proposed amendments to the Penal Code. We see this as a logical and responsible next step.

As with all complex human traits and behaviours such as intelligence, homosexuality is probably a result of many factors. Rather than arguing about whether particular genes can be found for these traits and behaviours, we should continue to accept our fellow Singaporean citizens and residents who deserve the same rights to respect, dignity, acceptance and empowerment as everyone else, and to be treated equally under the law.

We cannot agree with a law that proclaims our sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews, uncles, relatives and friends are criminals for a propensity that is not of their volition, is innocuous and part of their private lives. For far too long our gay loved ones from a young age, have suffered deep internalized oppression, often resulting in the disintegration of family, compromised relationships, low self-esteem, stunted maturity and unavoidable deceitfulness.

We therefore support the proposed decriminalisation of oral and anal sex as proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs this past November, and ask that it apply equally to all consenting adults.

Since the 1970s, the law has been used in Singapore as an educational tool; we implore the Government to use it again for the same purpose. This will be a first step in educating the public on the nature of homosexuality, educating them to become more understanding, respectful and accepting of our human diversity.

The homosexual community is an essential element in the tapestry of peoples that make Singapore such a unique and cosmopolitan community. Homosexual men and women enrich our lives through their participation in business, the professions, the arts, and government. They are our sons and daughters, colleagues, neighbors, and friends.

Legal discrimination against homosexuals is unfortunate, outdated, and regrettable. It tells them that they are less than fully welcome; that their participation in Singapore life is subject to government forbearance. It diminishes the entire Singaporean community by allowing laws to stand that criminalise many of our fellow citizens. While contributing to intolerance it leaves the government and legal authorities open to the charge of being hypocritical for not enforcing a standing law.

As we focus on the richness gay people bring to our lives and our love and support for them, we not only liberate them, we also become a society committed to the Asian values of real family – strong, whole and committed to love against all odds.

Read the Reuters article: Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew questions homosexuality ban

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About soci
Lived in Singapore for 6 wonderful years and has been blogging since 2003, under various names but always on Singaporean issues.

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