Why a repeal of 377A would hurt LGBT more than help…
Pink Dot 2013 saw the gathering of a large crowd of passionate Singaporeans protesting Section 377A of the Penal code.
It’s what one might call the protest for the ability to love freely. Personally, I agree with the cause. Because as a maturing society, we should be more accepting of people of diverse orientations, cultures, beliefs – everything.
I support their liberty to love as they deem fit, and not be criminalised for it. At some point in time, I’m sure everyone must have experienced the process of self discovery and the insecurity of it all. Now, pause and think how it is like for those with a different sexual orientation from the norm.
We could say that it is not a debate about gay rights, but more one of the individual’s moral liberty. It is not a debate about whether gay sex is right or wrong. It is a debate about the freedom to engage in it privately without being prosecuted.
However, what are the consequences if Singapore actually does repeal the law? The following is my hypothesis:
1. Society polarises
We cannot deny that on this issue, there is a divide in society. There are 2 sides, if I may generalize – the liberals and conservatives. Chances are there are significant numbers on both sides. Every time we have a debate on this issue, people tend to stand on 2 sides of the house and there is hardly room for a middle ground on this issue.
2. Gays would be singled out
If the repeal succeeds, the conservatives will rage. This may lead to the singling out of gay individuals and condemning their actions, thus possibly hurting them even more. As it is, there has been much criticism towards homosexuality. If the repeal is successful, those against the repeal might take their unhappiness out on those who are not heterosexual.
3. Push for gay marriage will follow
As previously mentioned, the current debate is on the freedom to love. Legalization of gay marriage is a separate topic altogether. It is then a question of whether society is willing to legitimatise and accept the idea of homosexuality. Once again, society will be divided on the issue. Where does society intend to draw the line? And furthermore, who is to decide who should draw the line?
As ironic as it sounds by not repealing the section in the penal code, we are indirectly protecting them from potential singling out by the other side of society that disagrees with the repeal.
And for what purpose actually? Are gays now being stoned to death? Do they face severe opposition? Would they be better off with 377A repealed, or kept status quo?
Maybe in the future when a larger part society is willing to accept it, we should repeal the section. It’s probably not a question of will we or will we not repeal it, but more of when is the right time to repeal the section.
We would not want to prematurely shift society and end up with 2 polar sides of society.