In a landmark decision, Singapore will repeal Section 377A, a British colonial law that criminalised sex between men. The law was often interpreted as a ban on homosexuality in the Lion City. This law is still being practiced in Asian countries, including Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed the decision 15 years after repeal was first discussed in the Parliament of Singapore and stated that Singaporeans now have a better understanding of the LGBT+ community. By abolishing this law, PM Lee seeks to bring gay Singaporeans some relief. However, according to his remarks, “Singapore is a traditional society, with conservative social values, which believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, that children should be born and raised within such families. And the traditional family should form the basic building block of our society.” In a blow to marriage equality campaigners, Singapore will uphold and safeguard the institution of traditional marriage, making it a long road ahead for marriage equality. NGOs in Singapore have sent a community statement affirming PM Lee’s decision on repealing Section 377A as a good move, while calling on the government not to add the definition of marriage into the constitution as this would further discriminate against the LGBT+ community.
At Community Business, we support the decision to repeal Section 377A and hope that this signals the winds of change for LGBT+ equality in Asia. In a bid to encourage LGBT+ literacy and acceptance across the region, Community Business has established training and workshops, including LGBT 201 which explores the LGBT+ culture and the evolution of Rainbow Families in Asia, bringing a more diverse and inclusive lens to promoting true inclusion in the workplace and society. We look forward to working with partners both in Singapore and across the region to foster greater inclusion and acceptance.