On 27 July, AWARE expressed concern at views articulated at the Protect Singapore Townhall Event and sought to make the case that LGBTQ rights don’t impinge on the rights of straight people.
This is a common argument advanced by liberals: The LGBTQ community should enjoy all the rights that straight people enjoy as it does not affect the rights of straight people. The suggestion here is that all the demands of the LGBTQ activists should be acceded to as there is seemingly no direct impact on straight people and the rest of society.
This is simplistic and misconceived. Here’s why.
The LGBTQ Coalition Isn’t Just about Gay Rights – It challenges a broad sweep of social norms
It is noteworthy that even though the issue at stake now is whether 377A should be repealed, AWARE regularly uses the full acronym of “LGBTQ” when speaking on the issue. Some tend to assume that LGBTQ is just about homosexuals and forget that there are a host of other sexual identities that AWARE is also pushing for. These alternative sexual and gender identities that find convenient allyship under the LGBTQ umbrella cover a wide, and increasingly expanding (in the name of inclusivity) variety of constructed identities that diverge from longstanding social norms.
This is a problem, considering that most of it doesn’t even make coherent sense. So why AWARE has seen it fit to unabashedly ally itself with a cause so far from mainstream reality, and why its benefactors still see it worth their while to prop up this advocacy, is a puzzle.
The non-exhaustive list of the LGBTQ community includes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and/or Ally, Pansexual, and Demi-sexual, among many others. To be consistent with their drive toward inclusivity, activist organizations like AWARE should also advocate for the subjective “rights” of every subculture that makes itself loud and visible enough. Nevertheless, the key differential of the umbrella of identities that come under LGBTQ is that they all depart from heterosexuality as a norm.
LGBTQ advocates like AWARE are not only advocating for accepting the homosexual identity in our laws and policies. They have already begun to advocate for the transgender identity too. Where is the line drawn when it comes to redefining social norms and human anthropology? Will a line ever be drawn? Or is society going to be forced, eventually, to accept every form of sexual and gender identity to appear inclusive?
Highlighting the all-encompassing nature of LGBTQ advocacy is important as we situate the repeal/retain 377A debate, since its repeal signals the beginning of the opening of the floodgates for the rest of the advocacy to follow.
The Trojan Horse of “Gay Criminalisation” Conceals The Fact That They Need 377A Removed To Advance Their Agenda.
The repeal of 377A is the first domino that must fall for LGBTQ advocates to effectively lobby for what they deem are their “rights”. These “rights” include, for example, the recognition of same-sex marriage; favourable representation of the LGBTQ identities in books, media, movies, and TV shows as a means to socialize the community; and the teaching of LGBTQ identities in schools (in the guise of sexuality education), amongst many other demands that LGBTQ advocates frame as “rights”.
The idea that the fall of 377A would lead to a greater promotion of LGBTQ “rights” in all spheres of society is not a far-fetched notion. We already see aggressive LGBTQ advocacy happening in many countries in the West. The result has been, among other developments, the legalization of same-sex marriages, the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and transgender-friendly toilets in many Western countries. These dominos started to fall when homosexuality was legally viewed as equivalent to heterosexuality in those jurisdictions. Unmitigated, the repeal of 377A will herald such a shift toward legal equivalency between homosexuality and heterosexuality in Singapore as well.
Take Sweden for example. In 1944, Sweden decriminalized homosexuality.
- In 1972, Sweden legalized gender corrections.
- In 1995, Sweden legalized same-sex domestic partnerships.
- In 2003, Sweden allowed same-sex couples to adopt.
- In 2008, Sweden legalized same-sex marriages.
It is not a coincidence that LGBTQ demands and more importantly, legal advances increased once homosexuality was decriminalized. This is because LGBTQ advocates are unable to effectively lobby for further “rights”, so long as homosexuality was technically considered illegal. In the absence of protective boundaries for social morality like 377A, there is nothing stopping Singapore from looking like the ultra-liberal societies in the West in time to come, and possibly, the near future.
We see from the examples of many liberal Western nations that LGBTQ advocates want to shape societies to endorse and validate the multiple identities of the LGBTQ communities. This is not restricted to the homosexual identity only.
This is why people who support the norms of gender and marriage should be concerned: the LGBTQ advocates want to teach children at a very young age, via the media, entertainment, and education, that LGBTQ identities are just as valid and moral as the straight identity.
Just a Law, or So Much More?
Some have argued that 377A should go if the law is not enforced.
377A is not just unenforced law. It is a protective moral marker. Laws legislate ethics and morality and play an important role in shaping, and signalling the morality of a society. People are more inclined to believe that a certain way of life is legitimate if the law validates it. The decriminalization of sodomy is in effect the legalization of homosexuality.
“But it Criminalises Us for Our Love”
Others argue that 377A makes criminals out of our countrymen. It doesn’t.
We must remember that the existence of 377A does not make a homosexual a criminal because a person is a criminal only when he has been charged by the Prosecution and convicted in Court. Further removing any possibility of criminalisation, the government, the Prosecution and the Courts have all declared that neither scenario will happen. And generally, conservatives have no qualms with that position. Nevertheless, this has not stopped LGBTQ activists from deploying the emotional rhetoric of being unjustly criminalized by 377A.
The status quo is an equilibrium where homosexual fears of criminalization and conservative fears of the slippery slope have both been nullified. It is an equilibrium that should be preserved.
“It’s Not Like Your Kids Are Going To Become Gay”
Some have argued that teaching LGBTQ ideology will not turn a person gay. This is a fallacy because the facts show that LGBTQ ideology can influence impressionable young adults who are working through their identity. A 2021 Gallup poll of more than 12,000 US adults revealed that the percentage of U.S. adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual has increased to a new high of 7.1%, which is double the percentage from 2012, when Gallup first measured it.
The poll indicated that the increase in LGBTQ identification in recent years largely reflects the higher prevalence of such identities among the youngest U.S. adults compared with the older generations they are replacing in the U.S. adult population. Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood — those born between 1997 and 2003 — identify as LGBTQ. That is nearly double the proportion of millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations.
If we accept AWARE’s argument that a person is born gay and limiting LGBTQ ideology cannot change that, then it does not explain why the youngest segments of the US population identify as gay at least two times more than the older generations. This is at a time when the older generations are just as exposed to LGBTQ+ ideology as their younger counterparts, and at a time in the US when there is increasing acceptance to come out as gay. If homosexuality is as random and as biological as skin colour, we should have begun to see a consistent proportion of the population identifying as gay in every generation.
Yet we don’t.
We suggest the reason is not that the young are more willing to come out as gay – older people arguably would have more self-assurance to come out as gay. The reason is that our young are more vulnerable to the glorification of the LGBTQ lifestyle portrayed in the media as they work out their self-identities. Even if the reader does not accept this suggestion, at a minimum the Gallup poll indicates that, as a percentage of their generation, more young people in the US are turning to the LGBTQ lifestyle compared to the older generations. This is happening at the same time that LGBTQ ideology is getting strong support from the US media, US corporations and liberal schools, amongst others. Is this a coincidence, or causation? If the latter, this should cause grave concern for any straight parents with young children.
“How Does This Affect Your Heterosexual Marriage?”
One of the hallmarks of social conservatism is the emphasis on personal responsibility. It would seem absurd from the outset that social conservatives would seek to pin the tail of blame for failed heterosexual marriages on the gay donkey. And yet, that is exactly what liberals argue when they ask why there is a need to “protect marriage” in the first place. This is either ignorant or dishonest. (We withhold judgement as to which is true.)
These people argue that criminalising homosexuality will do nothing to protect heterosexual marriages. After all, they argue, why not criminalise adultery, for example, since it breaks up heterosexual marriages? This argument is misconceived. Adultery is recognized by society as a moral failing and, unfortunately, it can lead to broken marriages for the individuals involved. But adultery does not change the ideals of marriage as an institution. Adultery does not change the fact that marriage, in its pure form, is the union of a man and a woman to procreate and raise children in a household where the children have the benefit of a father and a mother.
When conservatives seek to “protect Marriage”, they don’t seek to protect “heterosexual” marriage per se, but rather, Marriage as an institution.
Marriage is not a right. A person cannot just declare himself married through natural rights. Individuals have to meet certain conditions before they can enter into the institution of marriage. These conditions have moral foundations built into them. This is what makes marriage sacrosanct.
While adultery spoils the sanctity of marriage for the couple involved, it does not alter the institution of marriage. Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, irreparably harms the institution of marriage as it changes the conditions for one to be married. If same sex marriage is allowed today, then do we change the conditions for marriage further by allowing, say, a three-party marriage or a marriage between a man and a thing?
There is a lot more that can be said about how same-sex marriage fundamentally alters the institution of marriage, but that is beyond the scope of this article. However, what is important to internalise is that marriage is built on certain moral foundations that take into consideration what is best for society and the family unit. Unlike adultery, same-sex marriage fundamentally alters the foundations upon which the institution of marriage is built – this affects everyone in society.
LGBT Activists Forcing Their Beliefs On Society are Blind To Their Own Faults
Lastly, the concern that conservatives have about the aggressive lobbying by LGBTQ activists is their inability to see that they are enforcing their beliefs on the rest of society.
Muslims do not insist that their beliefs be taught and accepted in all schools and in the media. Neither do Christians insist upon a theocracy, (even though this is a common fear-mongering tactic of LGBT activists).
So why is it acceptable to knock down the wall preventing LGBTQ activists from imposing their beliefs and conceptions of morality on the rest of society via schools, entertainment and media? In the spirit of fairness, perhaps religious bodies should be allowed to institutionalise their beliefs in like manner. And let’s not even begin to talk about political lobbying.
The Claims of Minority Stress
AWARE links the lack of endorsement of LGBTQ beliefs as the reason for the community’s alleged stress and “negative mental and physical health consequences”.
First, this is an assertion they have yet to prove – that the community’s social problems are because their beliefs and lifestyles are not embraced or applauded by others. Likewise, they will have to also invalidate the hypothesis that LGBT stress is associated with promiscuity, lower levels of relational fidelity, substance abuse and addictive behaviours, higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV, and the psychological trauma of irreversible body modification and other such affectations.
Second, if a person’s mental and/or physical health depends on whether others celebrate their beliefs, then a functioning society cannot have a diversity of views and beliefs, and will instead fall apart. This is more akin to emotional hostage-taking and is of course, absurd, since tolerance and viewpoint diversity have been the norm in Singapore for decades now.
Third, if a demographic of people should be seen to manifest poor mental health on account of perpetual bullying, then it should be the religious who are routinely labelled as bigots, homophobes and transphobes for simply being faithful to their religious beliefs. The fact is that Homosexuality sees little of such name calling or online bullying in Singapore, whereas anti-religious bigotry is rampant.
In the final analysis, we see this for what it is. Totalitarianism masquerading as victimhood when one group imposes its views on the rest of society by playing the victim card.
Social conservatives in Singapore have no interest in fighting a drawn-out “culture war”. It is tiring and divisive. But when social liberals aggressively push their beliefs on the rest of society to the point where commonsense beliefs about what constitutes a man and a woman, about the structure of marriage, what a nuclear family should look like, and what normal human sexuality is, are labelled as ‘bigoted’, bullied and cancelled, it becomes imperative that reasonable persons of all walks of life have to step up to protect our values.
Because so much is at stake for our beliefs, our families and our future as a nation.