21 February 2009

The hermitage is no solution

Gay, lesbian and transgender people cannot retreat into their private lives completely and think that they can live happy lives distanced from government and the law. I said so in answer to a question posed by a junior college student last week. This week, two news stories strike the same note. Full essay.


yuen said...

up to now, gay activists in Singapore have been working for the decriminalization of homosexual act; they have not been actively aiming for legal recognition of homosexual marriages;

I therefore feel your example did not really address the question the youngster asked - he was presumably referring to the de-criminalization issue: why gays are not satisfied with mere non-enforcement but demand its abolition;

but that is my own interpretation; I have no way to check with him

Anonymous said...

That Hong Kong case made me feel really sad. The couple first had to devise a fake marriage and pay money to a stranger, just because they loved each other and wanted to live together. Now they have to go to jail just because they love each other and wanted to live together. In Singapore, we cane people for immigration offenses. This type of injustice in the law towards gays has, over the past few years, made me much less respectful towards laws in general. The law is whatever the dear leader wants it to be anyhow. Just because it is called a "law" doesn't mean I have to like it.

Anonymous said...

Yuen seems to have stopped
reading the article midway
(and never got to the second
story) and his preconceptions
kicked in.

Anonymous said...

To Yuen

"why gays are not satisfied with mere non-enforcement but demand its abolition; "

Suppose Singapore became a
theocratic state and outlawed
non-belief. And just to show
how open minded it was, this
law is not enforced - the
purpose of the law being the
expression of the values
of the majority.

(For Christians, replace
"theocratic" with Islam,
and "non-belief" with
"non-Islamic belief".
It's amazing the amount
of detail some people need
in order to get it. The
ethical "Golden Rule" does
not seem to be as widespread as it
should be in fundamentalist religious upbringing - or I
dare say, basic education)

Anonymous said...

"this law is not enforced - the
purpose of the law being the
expression of the values
of the majority."

It's almost like, as a people,
Singaporeans feel that
they are not ridiculed enough.

For the chewing gum ban
we can blame the government.

For having 10 policemen to
one demonstrator, we can
blame the government.

But for this, we fully deserve it.

Weeping Saint said...

When homosexuality is discrminalised, when we are accepted....then there is freedom.

I am a teacher, I don't even dare to put my real name on this comment. Why? I'm not ashamed of being gay but I KNOW the consequences of being out-ed to the school authorities. The irony is that there are so many of us in the teaching profession. The more 'straight-acting' ones even distance themselves from the more 'open' ones, for fear of being out-ed.

I watched a documentary on Emily Pankhurst - at that time, most people did not understand why she wanted to fight for the right for women to vote. Now, it is something we take for granted in most countries.

For a woman to be denied the right to vote, is to be treated as less than a full human person. Likewise, for a gay person, to be unable to live a normal life like other people, is to be less of a human person. To be unable to say to your boss "This is the man I love". To be unable to bring him to your school family day when spouses are allowed. To be unable to tell my students "Yes, I am married....to a man".

How many of us would have the courage & conviction of Alex Au & Otto Fong to stand out & be counted?

If Section 377A is decriminalised, we owe it to people like them, we, the silent the majority, who dare not speak up.