Forum: Protect LGBTQ people with workplace anti-discrimination law

We refer to the article "More teeth for fair employment watchdog" (Aug 30). Pink Dot SG and Oogachaga welcome this positive development.

The government position is that there is no discrimination against LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people in the workplace.

In 2018, then Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said LGBTQ people face no discrimination at work, and last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said LGBTQ people are valued members of society and welcome to work in Singapore.

In contrast, research data and real life experiences show that LGBTQ employees in Singapore face a significant amount of discrimination in the workplace.

A 2018 study by the Asia Pacific Transgender Network found that, in Singapore, non-transgender job applicants were almost twice as likely to receive positive responses than transgender job applicants although both groups had equivalent qualifications and experience.

Lesbian women counselled by Oogachaga reported being bullied or harassed by supervisors and co-workers because of how they dressed or looked. Transgender men and women are asked inappropriate personal questions about their sexual and relationship history during job interviews.

Currently, there are no laws which expressly prohibit employment discrimination against LGBTQ people. We therefore urge the Government to work with LGBTQ community organisations to address the issues that LGBTQ employees face.

As in Pink Dot SG's statement on Sept 10, we urge the Government to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the new workplace anti-discrimination laws.

Discrimination against minority groups has no place in our multicultural and pluralistic society.

Leow Yangfa

Executive director

Oogachaga

Deryne Sim Lifen

Media representative

Pink Dot SG