Is there a Christian gay community in Singapore?

The local gay Christian community started out as Safehaven and registered itself in July 2004 as Free Community Church (FCC). It comprises an impressive leadership from different denominational backgrounds and professional expertise ranging from theology to law and counselling. The most notable is their Pastoral Advisor, Rev Yap Kim Hao, who was the first Asian Bishop of The Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore, and continued to serve till 2012 on the Council of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) in Singapore for the promotion of inter-faith dialogue and understanding. The current Executive Pastor of FCC is Rev. Miak Siew, who is also an ordained minister of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a US-based network of “inclusive churches” which lobby for “marriage equality”. The MCC is not a member of the US National Council of Churches. Similarly, FCC is not a member of the National Council of Churches of Singapore.

Just like other Christians, FCC believes that all individuals, “including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons”, are created in God’s image and of sacred worth. Their vision is to be “an inclusive community that celebrates diversity in living out God’s love and promise of abundant life for all”. From this position, they speak against “discrimination based on negative judgment of others, fear of difference and homophobia”.[1]

However, FCC claims that same-sex and transgendered relationships are consistent with the Christian faith and teachings when lived out in accordance with the love commandments of Jesus.

There are Christians confronted with same-sex attractions who differ from the stance of FCC.They include those who struggle in silence (termed as “in the closet”), those seeking a way out or a better way through their current situation, those who have found God’s grace to journey out of their LGBT lifestyle, and those who have successfully “come out” and may even have developed heterosexual attractions.

Endnotes
1. http://www.freecomchurch.org

How widespread is gay activism in Singapore?

Pro-LGBT or homosexual activist groups in Singapore which champion gay rights and promote acceptance of peoples of all kinds of sexual orientations often have strong global affiliations and support.

Pink Dot is considered Singapore’s high-profile, landmark homosexual initiative. Held at Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park, this annual, free-for-all event started in 2009 in support of the LGBT community in Singapore. Attendees gather to form a giant pink dot in a show of support for inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love. The latest Pink Dot event in June 2015 was purported to be attended by more than 28,000 people1, backed by large local and global corporate supporters and local celebrities.

Sayoni is “a community of queer women, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender women” that “organizes and advocates for equality in well-being and dignity regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity”.

People Like Us (PLU) is one of the first local gay and lesbian groups formed for the purpose of advocacy and public education. It has been refused formal registration as an organization twice (in 1997 and 2004), but boasts a following of over 2,300 members in its email discussion list SiGNeL.

Pelangi Pride Centre is a Singapore-based LGBTQ (+ Queer) community space and resource centre located at Geylang in a venue sponsored by the Free Community Church, which “affirms that same-sex and transgender relationships, when lived out in accord with the love commandments of Jesus, are consistent with Christian faith and teachings.” The Free Community Church initially took the form of Safehaven, a support group for homosexual Christians. (Qn.19)

Oogachaga (OC) offers gay affirmative counselling and personal development for LGBTQ individuals under the umbrella of SPACES, a registered local charity.

Action for Aids (AfA) is a registered charity under the Ministry of Health that supports and advocates for persons living with HIV/ AIDS, of which MSM (men who have sex with men) constitute an increasing segment.

Inter-University LGBT Network is a collection of LGBT university student groups in Singapore. It presently comprises tFreedom (National University of Singapore [NUS], Tembusu College), Gender Collective (NUS, University Scholars Programme), Kaleidoscope (National Technological University), Out to Care (Singapore Management University), and The G Spot (Yale-NUS College).

At the 2012 Global LGBT Workplace Summit, Google launched a new phase of its “Legalize Love” campaign, with plans to specifically target Singapore. A spokesperson for the campaign said that the campaign aims to “promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books”. He added that “Singapore wants to be a global financial centre and world leader and we can push them on the fact that being a global centre and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”2

On 31 January 2014, the Straits Times published an article titled “Students’ passions come alive in varsity clubs”. The writer reported, “Another group [at Yale-NUS College] is The G Spot…interested not only in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, but also other topics such as race or body image.” This student group took part in Pink Dot and hosted a sharing session by the parents of gay college student Matthew Shepard, an American hate-crime victim.”3

Endnotes
3. Amelia Teng, Students’ Passions Come Alive in Varsity Clubs (The Straits Times, 31 January 2014)