Voices

Preserve common space or regress to a feuding society

From

Magdelene Sim Jialing

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Published: 4:03 AM, July 12, 2014
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The knee-jerk reactions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issue here are tiring, repetitive and, above all, disrupt the peace and stability we are known to have in our diverse community.

Our national pledge was written in 1966, when diversity largely took the form of race, language or religion. Its formula has worked because we chose to respect a common space for all to coexist peacefully, regardless of our differences and beliefs.

One would like to believe that society has now progressed and matured, that this common space can extend to all differences, more than only race, language and religion.

The LGBT issue appears to threaten this common space but, in my view, has been blown out of proportion. There is fear of the LGBT community and what they allegedly seek to promote.

Phrases such as “pro-family” or the LGBT community’s “organised campaign” are used loosely to keep them away from our common space. But what have the LGBT community here sought to achieve other than peaceful coexistence and the right to be who they are?

If the fear is that they want more, such as legalised same-sex marriage, not a single LGBT person I have spoken to thinks this will happen in Singapore. If they wanted more legal rights, they would simply go overseas.But they have stayed despite the odds they face here because this is home, where their friends and family are.

All they ask for is to be loved and for people to say: “Hey, he/she is in love with someone who is not whom I thought it would be, but we all have the freedom to love who we want.”

Is that too much to give them? And what exactly is “pro-family”? Does it end at the legal union of one man and one woman? What about promoting sustainable relationships within that framework?

Society is adversely affected when marriages break down and children grow up in broken homes or environments with marital strife. However, it appears that the LGBT community is being singled out in a world of vice and many things that are wrong.

There is no hierarchy of sins. Our young are exposed to and surrounded by real people or characters in dramas, films and books who are adulterous, engage in casual sex or undergo abortions.

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