End The Slur On LGBT People And Their Allies

The annual Pink Dot event has put Singapore on the map for the right reasons (“LGBT rally forms sea of pink at Hong Lim Park”; June 13, online).

It has become a beacon of hope for many who feel alone and victimised because of who they are, so much so that it has been replicated in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and the United States.

Of late, unfortunately, the lead-up to Pink Dot, an event emphasising tolerance, respect and love, has been marred by vitriol directed at the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community and their allies.

Hatemongers have created platforms on social media from which they hurl their slurs. Offline, some have used the pulpit to launch attacks against LGBT people and their supporters.

Many, including those who had been neutral in the issue, have felt compelled to speak out against this bigotry. But the silence of the authorities, who have intervened in racial, religious or gender discrimination, is puzzling.

Replacing the word “LGBT” in this hateful commentary with an ethnic group or religious affiliation would render the remarks seditious.

Replacing “gay” or “lesbian” with a reference to a gender, age group, social class or the disabled would not sit well with civic-minded Singaporeans.

The authorities and our politicians must not practise double standards, but be bold to speak up against such speech. Silence emboldens bigots and would mean complicity in the hate campaign.

This is not about supporting LGBT people but about supporting a society where everyone is treated with dignity and about creating a safe society, where discourse is civil.

Will our leaders respond to protect the secular space in Singapore and signal that such actions are unacceptable?


This article, written by Angeline Wong Hu Wei, first appeared on Voices, Today, on 22 Jun 2015


Source: www.todayonline.com

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