Let’s seek to understand them more – Liren

4 06 2007

Here’s what a very cool friend of mine wrote to the ST Forum recently in response to a spate of debates and articles concerning MM Lee’s comments about decriminalizing Section 377 of the Penal Code.

Here goes,

“I refer to the letter by Ms Agnes Chai Shiang Jen, ‘Are homosexuals truly born gay?’ (April 27, 2007).

As a Social Work student at the National University of Singapore, we are consistently encouraged to think about these issues and the issue of homosexual people in our society is one that has been brought up in our classes recently. One thing that was disturbing to me was how gay people are often labeled ‘homosexuals’. This disturbs me because it seems that we have, with that label, negated every other identity that this gay person holds. A gay person is often also be a brother, a friend, an engineer, or a dentist. It is clear that his sexual orientation is not all that his identity entails. If a straight person is not called a ‘heterosexual’ flippantly, why should gay people be? For a start, let’s address a gay person as a ‘homosexual person‘.

As MM Lee said in his recent dialogue with the Young PAP members, we are ‘confronted with a persisting aberration’, especially in the worldview of various religions, especially Christianity. Having read Ng Yi-sheng’s book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, it seems that many of these homosexual people face great pressure in their churches and the Christian community to renounce their sexual orientation. It saddens me greatly to hear this.

As a straight, practicing Christian, I am not saying that the Bible views homosexual behaviour as acceptable. Far from it. However, it is not the issue of contention here. I am merely saying that it is important, as a society, to understand more before we place any judgment on any one issue. And I firmly believe that, with regards to homosexuality, we do not understand enough.

There are many myths being perpetuated about homosexual people. Many think that homosexual people are empty, sad, lonely people, driven by nothing more than uninhibited passions and fueled by sexual lust. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many homosexual people are high-functioning, high-achieving people. Just like straight people, sexual activity does take up a part of their lives, but there is no evidence to suggest they are any more sexual than straight people are. In fact, lesbian women have been shown to engage in less sexual activity than even straight couples.

One of the accusations frequently hurled at the homosexual community is that of sexual promiscuity. This again is a myth, as many homosexuals are in stable, long-term, committed, monogamous relationships. Research has also shown that the quality of these relationships do not differ from heterosexual ones, nor do homosexual couples bring up children who are any more dysfunctional than those brought up by heterosexual couples.

With regards to whether homosexuality is biological or environmental, I believe the scientific community consistently asserts that it is never a case of one single factor, but always an interaction between the predisposition and the environment.

To be frank, whether or not homosexual behaviour is morally wrong is not the issue here. The issue is understanding and justice. If we do not understand enough, we do not have any right to impose our opinion or our moralistic views. And even if we do believe that homosexuality is wrong, we must not discriminate them from our society. Just as we do not discriminate problem gamblers, pickpockets, liars or those who do not honour their parents, why do we do otherwise when it comes to homosexuality? To do so would be to serve these individuals a huge social injustice.” – Zheng Liren

I wonder why I have an inclination to want to understand people on the margin more…




One response

5 06 2007

God has placed in u a great dream and calling!

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