Over 30,000 responses to Government survey on LGBT+ issues and Section 377A

There are also questions on whether participants feel that the LGBT+ community is accepted in Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A public survey on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) issues and Section 377A of the Penal Code by Reach had drawn more than 30,000 responses by the time it closed on Wednesday.

This far exceeded the usual number - which ranges from several hundred to a couple of thousand - of responses to its surveys, the Government feedback unit said in response to queries.

The public poll is likely one of the first by Reach on sentiments surrounding LGBT+ issues, and came after Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam’s comments earlier this month on the topic.

Feedback from the Reach survey, which closed at noon, "will be shared with relevant agencies and could be used within the Government for policy updates and changes", said the survey in its preamble.

Reach had said of the survey: "We wish to hear your thoughts about the LGBT+ community in Singapore. This survey is open to everyone regardless of your sexual orientation and/or gender identity."

The Straits Times understands that several groups had mobilised people to take part in the poll.

Earlier this month, Mr Shanmugam had said that the Government is carefully considering the best way forward on the law, which criminalises sex between men but which the Government has said will not be proactively enforced.

"We must respect the different viewpoints, consider them carefully, talk to the different groups," he told Parliament on March 3 during the debate on the budget of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"If and when we decide to move, we will do so in a way that continues to balance these different viewpoints and avoids causing a sudden, destabilising change in social norms and public expectations," he added.

When asked if this was Reach's first public survey on attitudes towards the LGBT+ community and Section 377A, as well as why the survey was commissioned, a Reach spokesman said: "This survey is one of many that Reach pushes out frequently to Singaporeans to gather feedback on issues they are concerned with."

In the survey, under the section that collects demographic data of the participants, the question on gender provides three options - male, female and others.

There were also questions on whether participants feel that the LGBT+ community is accepted in Singapore, and if they are supportive of the LGBT+ community and its causes.

The survey also asked for participants' opinions on whether Section 377A should be repealed, maintained, modified, or if they are indifferent to it.

In a judgment released last month, the apex court here ruled that the law will stay on the books, but cannot be used to prosecute men for having gay sex.

After the survey closed, Reach said on the site that there had been "an overwhelming response that far exceeds the usual number of responses received in our e-Listening Points".

An e-Listening Point is virtual feedback via online surveys, including through platforms such as WhatsApp, TikTok and Grab.

Reach said in December last year that its Listening Points engaged more than 65,000 people in 2021. Of note, a survey on home-based learning drew feedback from some 20,000 parents in three days, Reach chairman Tan Kiat How had said.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.