‘First step on a long road to full equality’: Relief for LGBTQ groups over plans to repeal Section 377A

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REPEAL MEANS “SOMETHING DIFFERENT” TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL

The “disappearance of Section 377A represents something different” for each individual, the statement said.

For some who have been victims of bullying, rejection and harassment permitted by law, repeal would allow a process of healing to begin. For others, however, the repeal would have come “much too late”.

“For those who yearn for a more equal and inclusive Singapore, repeal means that change is indeed possible. And for our friends and family who have supported us, repeal is proof and encouragement that your alliance makes a difference,” he said.

“To former victims of Section 377A and its cascading effects, including those who have faced threats of police entrapment, raids and criminal charges, repeal can never fully right the wrongs. historical events that you have faced. To others that we have lost along the way, we have not forgotten the heavy toll that this law has taken on you and your loved ones.”

The statement also recognized “generations of activists, community groups and allies”. Their advocacy “often came at a high personal cost” – but paved the way for political and societal change, while keeping hope alive for many.

In his National Day Rally speech, Mr Lee also said the government would amend the Constitution to protect the definition of marriage – currently recognized by law as taking place between a man and a woman – against any constitutional challenges in the courts.

He added that the government had no plans to change the definition of marriage or national policies on public housing, education, adoption rules, advertising standards and film ratings, noting that he would uphold the ‘dominant norms and values’ of Singaporean society.

“Any move by the government to introduce new legislation or constitutional amendments that flag LGBTQ+ people as unequal citizens is disappointing,” the statement from LGBTQ groups said in response to Mr. Lee’s speech.

Nonetheless, IndigNation SG noted that “marriage was never on (his) agenda.”

“As an organization, IndigNation is much more interested in righting the harm done to our communities by maintaining an archaic law for too long. Unequal housing laws, discriminatory employment practices, media censorship and more. still have to be canceled,” he told CNA.

“Beyond this repeal, how then can we imagine a queer life and activism that is not centered around the 377A? What forms of community care can we aspire to, not counting the 377A?”

A media statement released by Oogachaga Chairman Bryan Choong and Executive Director Leow Yangfa also urged MPs to “avoid confusing the repeal of 377A with other issues.”

“LGBTQ Singaporeans have families, have children, are in committed relationships and are already married. Many LGBTQ Singaporeans may also not want to marry. Families and marriage need not be protected from the community LGBTQ, because a lot of us are already into them,” he said.

“A VICTORY FOR HUMANITY”

The statement from LGBTQ groups suggests the government’s intention to repeal Section 377A is just the beginning.

He noted that immediate priorities would be to address areas of discrimination in the home, school and workplace, as well as in the housing and health systems.

“The true impact of the repeal will be determined by how Singaporeans react to it and treat each other in the days and months to come. It must be accompanied by the rejection of hate, stigma, discrimination, erasure. This must be the start for us to find common ground and have open conversations about our collective future,” he said.

“We cannot allow this to polarize us, deepen the fissures or make an already vulnerable community more vulnerable to scorn. We must, in the face of a potential backlash, strengthen the bonds within our community and look out for each other. “

Echoing similar sentiments, IndigNation told CNA separately that “public discourse is likely to become more passionate and toxic” as Singapore moves toward repeal.

“We want to remind members of our community that you are not alone in these difficult times. Our community has a long history of hostility. to your local gay organizations if you need them,” he said.

Reminding the LGBTQ community to engage in “meaningful conversations” with those who matter, Mr. Choong and Mr. Leow of Oogachaga reiterated that these discussions should be done in a “safe and respectful way”, with “facts and evidence, not opinions and misinformation”. .

The LGBTQ groups’ statement added that the repeal would be a “hard-won victory” and a “triumph of love over fear”.

“As we celebrate this historic milestone, we urge the community, and indeed all Singaporeans, to continue imagining and working towards a better future for all,” he said.

“A society without Section 377A is a more progressive society, not just for LGBTQ people, but for everyone. No one is free until everyone is free. ‘humanity.”

“When Section 377A is repealed, it will not only improve the lives of LGBTQ Singaporeans and their families, but will also bring other benefits to business, commerce and enhance our international reputation as a progressive and developed economy,” added Mr. Choong from Oogachaga and Mr. Leow.

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