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Gay Sex in Singapore Will Not Be Punishable Anymore

On Sunday, in the National Day Rally speech, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the government’s decision to repeal section 377A of the penal code. This colonial-era law made gay sex (sex between men) punishable with an imprisonment of 10 years up to a lifetime. The prime minister talked about the Singaporean gays in his speech and mentioned that many people would accept this new change in the state. Many LGBTQ groups that had been tirelessly advocating their rights before the govt are now happy about this first step. However, they are still unsatisfied with the systemic and stereotypical discrimination against the LGBTQ communities and unchanged laws regarding minority groups. 

Prime Minister’s Speed About Decriminalization of Gay Sex

Since 1938, when Singapore was a British colony, the inherited law to punish people of the same gender for having sexual relationships existed. The punishment was imprisonment for up to two years. Recently, the PM has announced the imminent abolishing of the 377A. The prime minister said it’s the right thing to do, and many will accept it. However, Lee stressed traditional aspects of the state as same-sex marriages would not be legalized. He mentioned that weddings are supposed to be between men and women, and the conventional family is what should be the basic building block of a society. Lee said that the state would have to find a way to reconcile both the acceptance of gay aspiration and the traditional conventions of Singapore. He did not disclose when the repeal would take place.

On Monday, the education minister also addressed the citizens and stated that education would be given in light of the state’s traditional values. It will be sensitive to the multi-religious and multiracial build-up of society.

Same Gender Sex is Frowned Upon

The government has only eradicated the element of punishment from the law, but gay sex or intercourse between men is still something not approved. Queer people can be involved in intimate activities and will not be imprisoned, but other communities like Christian and Muslims have their concerns. They want heterosexual marriages to be protected before the alteration in section 377A occurs. They want no further liberalization of the policies.

The authorities have confirmed that the government will keep up the restrictions on film and media content related to LGBTQ. Adults can watch such content, but those under 18 will not have such privilege.

Public Reactions

The second part of the announcement by the PM did not satisfy the public. A feminist organization that aspires to protect queer women expressed its concerns about the suggested constitutional changes regarding gay sex and the protection of heterosexual marriages. This way, LGBTIQ communities will be considered and treated as unequal members of society.

Some are happy about the initiative since Singapore is a state where there are no advancements regarding minority groups. Thus, it will help people live their lives the way they want. However, it is just a baby step that might not change significant discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Other countries have taken a similar step over the past few years like India’s supreme court legalized homosexuality in 2018. Australia also approved gay marriages in 2017. However, every time this decision has caused mixed reactions from the public, no matter the country.

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Ahmad Akbar
Ahmad Akbar
A journalist with a perspective of providing a broad viewpoint. An enthusiast towards attracting a wide range of audiences with uniqueness and precision in content.
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