Singapore lags behind many countries in its protection and support of the LGBTQ community. On September 10, 2018, 43-year-old Singaporean resident Johnson Ong filed to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes any sexual behavior between two consenting adult males. Ong’s petition has since received support from international human rights and LGBT organizations, but the conflict has yet to be resolved.

Indeed, Section 377A has been internationally condemned as an anachronistic colonial law. It states that male homosexuality, even in private, shall result in sentences of up to two years. And yet the penal code is rarely enforced for women.

Ong claimed, “Section 377A remains a constant reminder to me that I am a lesser citizen, even when not being enforced.”

Despite Singapore having the fourth top education system in the world, its teachings—or the lack thereof— on sexual orientation and gender identity may have helped normalize homophobia.

Of note, the eighty-year-old law is supported by 55% of the population. But the younger generation of Singaporeans has gained increasing awareness of the LGBTQ community. Roughly 33% of Singaporeans reported now that they support same-sex couples, in contrast to five years ago, when nearly 78% of surveyors considered such relationships morally wrong.

The repeal of Section 377A would serve not just to diminish marginalization of the LGBTQ community but to promote equal rights for all Singapore citizens. Thousands have joined the online movement of #Ready4Repeal.

 

On this topic, Singapore appears to be a divided society. And so far, we know just this: the government says it is reviewing and reexamining the Penal Code.

Pictured: The Pink Dot SG 2018, an event held in Singapore that enforces the idea of freedom of love and supports the LGBTQ community

 

Pictured: The Pink Dot SG 2018, an event held in Singapore that enforces the idea of freedom of love and supports the LGBTQ community

 

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