18 April 2006

Homosexuality in Singapore

I've read a blog post from Mr Wang Says So on homosexuality in Singapore.

You know, I never understood why Singaporeans are not capable of accepting gays and lesbians in our society. Is our society not open enough? Not mature enough? Not gracious enough? Or maybe too "gracious" to have them in our society?

What is wrong? Homosexuals are still people. They don't create trouble; they don't create instability. The most one can complain is that they make him/her feel uncomfortable. Indeed, if someone I know of is gay, or even effeminate, I may feel slightly uncomfortable, but ultimately, this is a first impression. It will be what he does, that defines how I judge him. And if we expel someone from our society just because he/she makes us uncomfortable, then who would be left in our society but a few, intolerant, narrow-minded individuals?

The most oft quoted reason by politicians and law-makers is that homosexuality is unnatural. I wonder what they mean by this. Unnatural because it go against the evolution of the human being (for the propogation of our DNA or, for a more politically correct term, procreation)? In that case, shouldn't we execute those born with physical disability? Unnatural because people of the same gender should not have a sexual relationship? Who says so? Currently, as far as I know, there is no general consensus (from biological arguments) among the scientific community that homosexuality is unnatural. In fact, there is evidence to point that a person's sexual directions may be partially due to the genetic makeup of that person. So are we penalising them because of their "natural" behaviour? Or is it unnatural because it doesn't occur in nature, in other creatures? That's dead wrong, because I do know that many mammals do engage in homosexuality. I remember, for no particular reason, a vivid picture from an article in Times magazine eons ago, of two giraffes (the caption states that they are of the same sex) showing sexual affection to one another.

Or is it religion? But since when does a religious doctrine drive our society? Yes, we must have respect for others' religion (even this can be rather ambiguous; read Dilbert creator Scott Adam's blog post for more on this), but it should not control what we do, what we think, and how we treat others ("we" meaning the society as a whole). And how many times have religion been wrong in the past? Of course, this is no basis for arguing that their stand on homosexuality is wrong, but I've not heard of a convincing argument from them, either, that homosexuality is wrong.

In fact, this issue of homosexuality has been brought up recently when PAP introduced its first three candidates for the upcoming election. They have been asked on homosexuality, and a candidate who is a doctor (not the title, but the real you're-down-with-flu-now-cough-up-my-consultation-fee doctor) replied that he does "not think homosexuality is natural." (I took this quote from an article in Yawning Bread.) I was very disappointed with him. Is what a doctor learns different from what a scientist learns? Or is he just not keeping up with the news? Or is he saying this just so that he can go along with the majority opinion (assuming that's the case) and garner support? Or maybe it is just an opinion of his. Sure, that's fine, but from the way he structures his sentence,

I'm a doctor and I do not think that homosexuality is natural.

he is, consciously or unconsciously, implying that he is giving professional advice.

Life is difficult for everyone in Singapore, and more so for homosexuals. What did they do to deserve this? Can't we have equality, too, for them? Is Singapore too small? Are our hearts too small?

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