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.

 

 

 

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About the author

Justina Lee

Justina Lee speaks in Yoda: “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

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2 Comments

  • I hope to shed some light on this topic. 1. Society polarises – More dialogue needs to happen especially if you think there is no middle ground. Requesting for 1 side to stop isn’t addressing the issue at the core. 2. Gays would be singled out – Many LGBTs already have to live in fear and are discriminated against (some under the guise of good intentions some more). Those that choose to discriminate will discriminate no matter whether the repeal happens or not. If they choose to focus on differences instead of equal treatment then so it, it is a reflection of their personal character. Nothing good ever comes out of fear. Imagine if African Americans did not urge for equality, there will still be slavery today. Change is never pretty but advancement of society demands it. 3. Push for gay marriage will follow – There is a difference between rights and privileges. It is not a matter of whether homosexuality should be “accepted” by society, it exists in society, is part of society and will remain a part of society. It is about caring for your fellow Singaporeans and understanding that it is their right to wed, just like you can. Heterosexuals also not stoned to death but 377 was repealed, why? The purpose is to move towards an inclusive society and let gays understand that love is love, no matter who you love. They are to be treated with the same respect and dignity that heterosexuals have been legally accorded already. About time it happens.

  • Sorry , but I do not agree with the points at all.

    Reasons are as follows :

    1. Society polarises: Not sure why would we “assume” that society will polarise , there is always a “yes” or “no” for any debate. There are rest “I don’t care” which will be always in the society. It is a basic human right , 377A is a medieval law made by the Brits which robs a person from his sexual identity.(even they repelled it).

    2. Gays would be singled out : Do you think LGBTs are not singled out today ? atleast with this law repelled , judiciary system would not be used to corner them.

    3. Push for gay marriage will follow: On a large thought , why would some one have any issue IF LGBT marriage is there … It would definitely not make Straight Marriage illegal … People should always have the choice.

    The reasons given by the author really do not have any sensible reasoning to back up his claim that 377A actually helps the LGBT community.

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