In light of the upcoming elections, it’s worthwhile to share the political parties’ official positions on LGBT issues.
From The Online Citizen (full article here)
With a general election expected in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2011, seven members of the LGBT community in Singapore sent a joint letter to six political parties requesting a clarification of their position on selected issues of interest to LGBT Singaporeans. The letter was sent in mid-September 2010 with reply requested for end-October 2010. The aim was to provide information to LGBT voters as to the stands taken by various political parties.The seven signatories were: Russell Heng, Jean Chong, Sylvia Tan, Choo Lip Sin, Irene Oh, Alex Au and Alan Seah.
The same letter was sent to (in alphabetical order) the National Solidarity Party, the People’s Action Party, the Reform Party, the Singapore Democratic Alliance, the Singapore Democratic Party and the Workers’ Party. The parties were informed that their replies would be released to the LGBT public.
None of the parties responded to the complete list of questions. Nonetheless, three parties provided a reasonably clear outline of their stand with respect to LGBT concerns. The People’s Action Party did not reply at all, nor even acknowledge the letter. The Singapore Democratic Alliance acknowledged the letter but in the end did not provide a reply.
The source material for the article can be found on People Like Us (read the full post here)–I’m posting the letter they sent out
1. One of the foundational principles of Singapore is the concept of equality. In your party’s opinion, does the concept of equality include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons and their interests?
2. In October 2007, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said there has to be “space for homosexuals to live their lives”. Does your party agree with this?
3. The LGBT community feels that Section 377A of the Penal Code limits the space that they have, thus undercutting the equality that they feel they are entitled to, for example, in the following areas:
• the law legitimises social stigma and discrimination;
• through (a) above, it is used to justify media censorship;
• it constrains the needed degree of health intervention with respect to HIV.
What is your party’s position on these effects of Section 377A?
4. Speaking to Reuters in April 2007, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said Section 377A “eventually” has to go. Expanding on his thoughts, he said, “if this is the way the world is going and Singapore is part of that interconnected world and I think it is, then I see no option for Singapore but to be part of it.” In August 2007, he repeated his sentiments to the International Herald Tribune, saying, “Yes, we’ve got to go the way the world is going. China has already allowed and recognized gays, so have Hong Kong and Taiwan. It’s a matter of time.”
(a) If a bill is before the next parliament to repeal Section 377A, will your party support it?
(b) If not, when do you foresee your party being able to support one?
(c) Is this a matter for which your party may consider necessary to lift its party whip?
5. Section 377A aside, on the question of equality in employment,
(a) Would your party support legislation promoting nondiscrimination in employment on grounds of race, religion, sex, disability and age?
(b) Should such legislation also include among its grounds sexual orientation and gender identity?
6. Currently, media policy severely restricts the portrayal of “alternative lifestyles”, which deprives Singaporeans of a balanced view of LGBT people and their lives. This deprivation reinforces negative stereotypes and further stigmatises LGBT people, holding society back from progressing.
(a) Does your party believe that LGBT themes, characters and content should be treated fairly and equally in media policy?
(b) To be more specific, does your party believe that there should be parity in media classification between films and art with LGBT themes, characters and content on the one hand and similar material with heterosexual themes, characters and content on the other, e.g. a same-sex love affair is classified the same way as an opposite-sex love affair?
7. What does your party consider an appropriate level of formal recognition of same sex relationships (agree/disagree on each sub-question)?
(a) no recognition as existing;
(b) provide a public register of same sex partnerships;
(c) recognise a same-sex couple in the same household for taxation purposes;
(d) recognise a same-sex couple as family nucleus in respect of public housing;
(e) recognise the rights of a same-sex partner for medical visitation, medical decision-making (in cases where the ill partner is incapable of deciding for himself/herself) and as next of kin;
(f) recognise a same-sex partner as equivalent to a spouse wherever insurance policies and employment benefits recognise a spouse;
(g) recognise a same-sex partner as equivalent to a married spouse with respect to succession intestate;
(h) recognise a same-sex partner as equivalent to a married spouse with respect to immigration.
8. Same-sex couples with children exist and are gradually increasing in number in Singapore. Present legislation and policies do not formally recognise them as a family unit, which is detrimental to the welfare of the children. Does your party agree that in the best interest of these children, there should be formal recognition of such a family nucleus?
I’m not allowed to vote…but I think my opinions on this topic are easy to guess.
Photo–San Francisco Pride Parade 2007