Stand up and be counted


There’s a storm brewing in Singapore over who is more equal than others.
Until a month ago, all “unproductive” forms of sexual acts have been banned in Singapore – anal and oral sex. So that was silly but fair, everybody couldn’t have “illegal” forms of sexual intercourse – straight, bisexual and gay. But in September 2007, the courts reversed that particular section of the penal code allowing anal and oral sex between two conscenting adults.

BUT only if they are a man and a woman.

That’s outrageous – pure, straightforward, undisguised discrimination.

It’s not so much about the right to have anal and oral sex (well….) but it’s really about equity. Why can’t gay people even have the basic right to have sex in Singapore? Can the Singapore goverment be as openly homophobic as that and get away with it?

Will Singaporeans stand up for themselves? Gay singaporeans at least?

It’s very heartening to see grassroot movements at repealing this anarchic penal code. The main galvanizing force has been the website where people can (and should!) sign this petition to repeal the penal code. This petition is an open letter that will be sent to the Prime Minister on 19th October and has been signed by about 4000 people and counting.

Accompanying the petition is this really cool video by local entertainers. It’s really wonderful to see all these performers, straight and gay, standing up for their fellow singaporeans – someone has to do it, why not us?

I was in half minds about signing it since the paranoid “don’t rock the boat” Singaporean in me was thinking that it’s better not to get involved since I don’t really think it will make a difference to the government (or gahment as we singaporeans call the machine). But I was surfing blogs and I found this video blog that really caught my eye.

The writer (or broadcaster) was very sincere in a stream of consiousness way and made no attempts to mask who he is. For Singaporeans, this is very brave considering the social and political repercussions of being gay in Singapore. We’re definitely not as repressive as foreign media make us out to be but there is still a real stigma to being gay in Singapore.

But he did make me think that unless we gay people stand up for ourselves, why should we expect anybody else to do so?

I signed the petition, how about you?


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