Featured News EDITORIAL: Singapore is not safe so long as govt condones homophobia

EDITORIAL: Singapore is not safe so long as govt condones homophobia

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The shooting in the packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida is a great tragedy. 50 people have died and many more injured in a crime which has homophobia at its roots. It is now being described as the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean commenting on the incident said, “let us treasure the peace and harmony we enjoy in Singapore, and focus on the common humanity we share, rather than allow those with bad motives to divide us or create conflict.”
Yes, we agree with the DPM that we should treasure the peace and harmony we enjoy in Singapore. We however have to be mindful that if we are not careful and continue to embolden hate groups, a misfortune like what happened in Orlando could also happen here.
The Orlando gunman, who is identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, an American citizen whose parents are from Afghanistan, was killed in a shootout with armed officers at around 5am on Sunday (12 Jun) morning (US time).  Omar’s father said that his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thought that might be related to the shooting.
In Singapore, the homophobic shrill voices have been getting louder in recent years. With the attempted takeover of the women’s advocacy group AWARE by fundamentalist Christians, to the attempt to pulp children’s story books, to the WearWhite campaign started against gay pride parades, to the petitions to the Ministry of Home Affairs against sponsors of the PinkDot event and the complaints to the Media Development Authority about same-sex kiss in an international musical, the examples are many.
The shrill voices of the homophobic minority have not only grown louder, but also bolder because the government seems to be acting in a reactionary way to pander to this group which it thinks is the will and the view of the majority.
If this continues, it is not unimaginable that an Orlando-type event would happen here in Singapore. Such an idea is not too far-fetched. A man who responded to a post by the hate group We Are Against Pink Dot in their Facebook said that he would not hesitate to open fire on gay people.
DPM Teo himself should be fully cognisant of the case of Corporal Dave Teo Ming, the NSF who managed to smuggle a military-grade assault rifle out of camp. Who are we to assume that someone who is dead set against the LGBT community would not resort to such actions, no matter how safe we think Singapore is?
In Singapore where citizens who serve national service have access to firearms, such a threat should not be taken lightly.
TISG urges the government and related agencies to demonstrate leadership by not feeding the homophobic frenzy and to be even-handed in how they treat the various communities here in Singapore. A good place to start would be to repeal the homophobic law, Section 377A.
In this instance we agree with the DPM that we should “focus on the common humanity we share, rather than allow those with bad motives to divide us or create conflict.”

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