How has homosexuality impacted Singapore?


These are the major Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) developments in Singapore in the past decade:Q24

  • AUG 2003: Goh Chok Tong, then Prime Minister, does “not encourage or endorse a gay lifestyle” but asserts that “gays, too, need to make a living”. He warns against backlash from the “conservative mainstream” should gays lobby for greater public space.1
  • OCT 2007: The original Section 377 of the Penal Code against unnatural sex is replaced with a law that criminalizes sex with corpses.It is then debated if Section 377A, which criminalizes sexual acts between men, should be repealed as well.2
  • MAY 2009: The new leadership at AWARE (which stands for Association of Women for Action and Research, a local non-profit organisation that advocates for women’s rights) seeks to address its Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum for schools, which carried some “explicit and inappropriate” content, including “messages which could promote homosexuality or suggest approval of pre-marital sex”.3 This matter receivesheavy media coverage and is polarisedalong religious lines. The Ministry of Education later suspends all sexuality education by external service providers. 4
  • In the same month, Pink Dot is launched to promote “Freedom to Love”, diversity and acceptance of people of all sexual orientations. It garners the support of several high-profile individuals and celebrities, and has since become a highly publicized annual event5
  • JUL 2012: Google publicly identifies Singapore as one of the countries targeted in the new phase of its campaign to oppose laws under which homosexuals are not accorded equal rights as heterosexuals, and to promote gay rights.6
  • JAN 2013: The pro-family “silent majority” and more Christians and churches speak up on the cases challenging the constitutionality of Section 377A.7 Statements affirming the importance of the traditional family unit are made in the Singapore courts and at ministerial level.8
  • AUG 2013:Yale University, popularly known as the “Gay Ivy” for its activism and emphasis on LGBT matters, collaborates with NUS to establish Singapore’s first liberal arts college9/10 with various LGBTQA campus initiatives.11/12
  • FEB 2014: Several public figures weigh in on the discussion  about the Singapore Health Promotion Board’s “FAQs on Sexuality”, with religious groups expressing their disappointment at the FAQs’ seemingly pro-LGBT view that contradicts the government’s stance on family.13/14
  • JUL 2014: The National Library Board receives criticism after removing 2 children’s books with pro-homosexuality themes following a parent’s feedback. The matter draws heated public discourse with mixed views, petitions and public displays of disapproval with the NLB decision.15/16
3. MOE Statement on Sexuality Education Programme (Ministry of Education, Singapore, 6 May 2009)
5. Wikipedia, Pink Dot SG
6. Stacy Cowley, Google Pushes for Gay Rights with “Legalize Love” Campaign (CNN Money, 8 July 2012)
8. Teo Xuanwei, Judgment Reserved on Challenge to Section 377A (TODAY, 15 February 2013)
9. Channel News Asia, Yale-NUS College Holds Inauguration Ceremony (XinMSN News, 27 August 2013)
10. Aleksandra Gjorgievska, Yale Profs to Teach at Yale-NUS (Yale Daily News, 14 February 2013)
11. Facebook page for Tri-Uni LGBTIQ Pride Day
13. Siau Ming En, More Parties Wade Into Debate Over HPB Sexuality FAQ (Today, 6 February 2014)
14. Charissa Yong, FAQ List Does Not Promote Same-Sex Lifestyles (The Straits Times, 19 February 2014)
15. Pearl Lee, NLB Defends Move to Remove Books (The Straits Times, 11 July 2014)
16. Pearl Lee, Yaacob Tells NLB to Put Barred Titles Back on Shelves (The Straits Times, 19 July 2014)