By Kai Teo
Recently, we received shocking news that 25,000 Singaporeans have signed a petition to review the Sexuality FAQs on the Health Promotion Board’s website, based on grounds that “it has an implicit pro-homosexuality stance which (the petition’s author) believes is detrimental to our society.”
Here, Buddha Mag would like to point out that we firmly support the choice to practice any religion, the liberty to believe in anything you want, and most importantly, the right to be who you are. And at the core of it all, there’s a very basic principle:
Your freedom ends where another’s freedom begins.
So let’s say you and your friends believe that it is your life mission to eat a fried chicken everyday. And it is against my personal belief of a healthy diet and healthy living. Of course, eating a whole fried chicken everyday seems to be detrimental to human health. And 90% of the population believe so too. Do we ban fried chicken for fear that the society will descend into an abyss of cardiovascular diseases? Do we stop websites from posting information about eating fried chicken? Nope. We let you eat your fried chicken.
I apologise to have to compare our LGBT community to fried chicken. But I couldn’t think of a simpler analogy.
An ethnically diverse nation like Singapore owes its colourful and unique culture to our open embrace of the different beliefs, cultures and religions of our 5.3 million inhabitants.
We grew up in a country where the children of a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian and an Atheist family can play catching together at their HDB (public housing) void decks without fear or repercussions, maybe except for the Karang Guni (the local recycling hero), who might express his displeasure at our unruly behaviour.
We never really cared what colour one another’s god, or gods, were. And we never really crossed the boundaries. “You pray to your god, I pray to mine. Fair, right? You no god also never mind, can run fast can already.”
My Muslim buddy never stopped me from eating Bak Kua or Bak Chor Mee despite the high pork percentage. My Hindu classmate never got pissed off when I stuffed my face with Beef Hor Fun. And my Christian friends never looked at me differently when I told them that I was dating a girl whose dad was a priest at a Taoist temple. I was pretty sure that whatever I did was against their religious beliefs. But it was all ok.
So why persecute a man who truly loves another man? Or a woman, another woman? Or whoever, who loves whoever else? Why is this issue so sore (yes, pun intended)?
We know all the arguments against LGBTs, so do many of our readers, who are exceptionally well-informed online citizens with easy access to world-renowned, reputable sources of the most forward-thinking scientific research, and the oldest, most accurate sources of religious scriptures.
There’re a million reasons for you to lash out against our LGBT family, but there only needs to be one to embrace them: Basic human rights.
Because we believe that it is every person’s right to love and engage in sexual acts with whomever he or she, or everyone in between, wants to, as long as it is based on mutual consent between human adults.
Religions are based on love. And we were taught that God loves us for whoever we are. God never added in Terms and Conditions in font size 6 at the bottom of the declaration of love. So why do we? Love thy enemy, but not the LGBT community?
“No, no, no. We love them, that’s why we want them to turn straight.”
Human sexuality is not a switch, or as many would call it, “a lifestyle choice”. Trying to turn someone straight is as impossible as trying to turn a straight person gay. As a straight male, I find it very difficult to be aroused by another man’s erected penis, even if it’s Ryan Gosling. HAVE YOU SEEN HIS FACE? You can tell me going gay is good for me, or that the society can only accept me if I’m gay. If I’m not turned on, I’m not turned on.
The reverse is also true. Oooo, surprise surprise.
In fact, I wish I were bisexual. With a larger target market, I would probably lower the number of nights I’d go to sleep alone in my bed, crying into my giant Hello Kitty, feeling sorry that no one wants me. But I’m just, not.
We are aware that many religions of the world deem homosexuality as a sin. And you are entitled to your belief.
Likewise, our LGBT community is entitled to their belief of freedom – the freedom to love whoever they want. These 25,000 signatures tell them otherwise.
It is not our intention to disrespect any religion for their moral beliefs. Our multi-religion society has had much to gain from the amalgamation of the principles of different cultures, which had moulded Singaporeans into a disciplined, respectful and accepting population. And we have much to learn from the great wisdom of old scriptures and religious records.
But please do not wield your self-righteous swords of religious verses to destroy the rights of our fellow human beings. The greatest way to show the world the merits of our religions is through their ability to shape our world into a better place for all of us – straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, confused, or anyone without a label.
Our LGBT community, especially those who are just starting to discover their sexuality, deserves to be equipped with information and support that can help them be who they are. Just as much as you deserve the right to believe whatever you want about them. So give a little respect, give a little love.
And give us a little 'like' on our Facebook page, so that the haters know what they're up against.