Voices

Bryan Lim’s comments caused anxiety in LGBT community

From

Kelvin Wong Heng

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Published: 10:40 PM, June 29, 2016

The writer of “Beware of labelling emotive comments as hate speech” (June 24, online) seems to think that Mr Bryan Lim’s comments were taken out of context.

Let us not forget that Mr Lim posted his message on the page of a Facebook group that fights against the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Singaporeans to be free from discrimination.

Members of this group regularly incite violence against LGBT people through the pictures they post, for example, and yet hardly any police reports have been made against them.

In the context of the Orlando shooting, Mr Lim’s comments brought fear to LGBT people, their families and their friends.

Such speech cannot be construed as “emotive” but as hate speech because of the possibility of incident violence against someone or groups of people. The writer fails and perhaps refuses to understand the kind of panic those comments caused.

Oddly, he seems to find it unreasonable to infringe on speech that incites violence against the LGBT community, yet he makes no mention of such laws to protect against feelings of enmity between Singapore’s different races.

Is he suggesting that the Sedition Act infringes on his freedom of speech too?

The consequences of Mr Lim’s comments are for him to bear, but they could have huge consequences for innocent people, especially when there were others who liked and supported what he had posted.

Any possible consequences for his employment would only be right in the context of his company’s diversity policy, and not because of LGBT groups.

In 2012, a senior banker was dismissed for his expletive-laced rant against a group of construction workers, not because of pressure from construction workers but because it was the correct thing to do.