Forum: Open public dialogue on LGBT fault line needed

A photo taken on Oct 15 shows office workers near the Singapore River during lunch hour.
A photo taken on Oct 15 shows office workers near the Singapore River during lunch hour.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

An Institute of Policy Studies survey reported a perceived need for "greater state involvement and public discourse" on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues (Majority now aware of race, religious issues, but study flags new fault lines, Oct 30).

The Government should proactively facilitate more respectful public discourse and dialogue, like its initiatives in forging religious and racial harmony.

Waiting to see how the LGBT fault line evolves to justify future changes in public policy decisions may look passively reactive.

To single out "religious reactions" on LGBT gives a false impression that only religious groups obstruct LGBT rights and hence are the chief cause of polarisation (Religious reactions on LGBT could cause discomfort, Oct 30). Or, that the discomfort or violence is experienced only by the LGBT community. More research is needed to understand the implications of mismanagement of the fault lines surveyed.

More than 10,000 people recently petitioned to stop a Yale-NUS talk on India's repeal of Section 377 (No significant risk of sub judice with talk on repeal of India's gay sex law, says Shanmugam, Nov 12).

This shows that many pro-marriage and pro-family Singaporeans feel unease about the motive and propriety of getting an influential foreign activist to share her success story of litigating for LGBT rights and the repeal of Section 377 in India.

Moreover, influential former and current government officials coming out to express their expert legal opinions for removing Section 377A have galvanised the polarisation of LGBT issues.

Shouldn't the voices of ordinary Singaporeans be given a fair hearing in open public discourse, besides the media spotlight given to several influential public figures recently?

James Tan Boon Siang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2019, with the headline 'Open public dialogue on LGBT fault line needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe