Dear Pastor Khong
My name is Kirsten. Like you, I too think of Family as a noble endeavour.
However, I was confused by your reference to “homosexual activists” in your statement to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. You see, unlike you, I support the repeal of Section 377A of our country’s penal code. I cannot wait for this discriminatory, hateful piece of legislation to be tossed out. To that end, I have written about homophobia in Singapore, I have attended pro-LGBT events like Pink Dot and IndigNation and I have spoken about the supposed “traditional family unit” in Singapore. I have no intention of stopping. Yet I am not a “homosexual activist” – I am just a Singaporean, who, like you, wants to be proud of the society in which I live.
In your statement you asserted that “[e]xamples from around the world have shown that the repeal of similar laws have led to negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of the society.” But Pastor Khong, you forgot to name a single example.
You claim that the repeal of Section 377A “takes away the rights of parents over what their children are taught in schools, especially sex education.” Yet a sexuality education programme that teaches children that abstinence is best and implies that being gay is a crime is also an infringement of the right of parents over what their children are taught in schools, not to mention incredibly painful for young gay students. I don’t have personal experience of such pain, but others do. What do we say to these children and teenagers? How do we address the pain, discrimination and shame inflicted upon them simply for who they are and who they love?
You say that the repeal of Section 377A “attacks religious freedom and eventually denies free speech to those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by increasingly aggressive homosexual activists.” Well, I’ve spent plenty of time with these activists – a lot more than you have, I dare say. I can tell you this now: not all of them are homosexual. None of them are aggressive. None of them are out to attack your religious freedom, or your right to free speech.
Even after Section 377A is repealed, you will still have your right to your religion and your religious beliefs. You will still have your right to say what you want, as long as you are aware that people will also have the right to rebut your arguments. All the LGBT rights advocates are asking is that we all respect everyone’s freedom to love who they love, and that your beliefs are not taken as a norm to be imposed upon those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by you.
Pastor Khong, I too love Singapore. But this is precisely why I want Section 377A to be repealed. Section 377A is not just about homosexuals. It is about all of us. It is about how we treat one another, how we judge one another, how we accept one another.
Much has been said in Singapore about inclusivity. You mention social cohesion. Yet how can we be inclusive, and how can our society be cohesive, if we consistently criminalise and alienate a significant part of our community?
Pastor Khong, I am sure you’ve done good work for your church. I’m sure there are many who look up to you and respect you. But I simply cannot help but feel disappointed that someone like you could have such a closed mind, that you would reject those who have done nothing to you, only loved someone you think they should not.