Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, has shared yet another pro-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) post on her social media page.
Notorious for flood-posting her page with several links throughout the course of each day, Mdm Ho – who also serves as CEO of Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek – shared an article on her personal Facebook page about how a UK citizen took his life after his strict Muslim family told him he needed to be cured of being gay.
The article, published by Birmingham Live, covered Dr Nazim Mahmood’s death from the perspective of his longtime boyfriend and fiance Matt Ogston. Mr Ogston revealed that he had been in a 13-year relationship with Dr Nazim but the pair had to keep the relationship a secret, out of fear about how Dr Nazim’s family would react to his sexuality.
Dr Nazim, who had been engaged to Mr Ogston for three years, took his life after his parents found out about his sexuality and told him to see a psychiatrist to be cured because they saw being gay as a disease.
After his partner’s death in 2014, Mr Ogston set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in his fiance’s memory to help families learn to accept their children and see that being gay is not a choice. He told Birmingham Live:
“Just as somebody is born straight, we were born gay. The only choice we have is to accept ourselves for how we are born and the way that God made us. This is a journey we all have to go on, hoping one day our parents accept us too.
“Quite often when we come out, many of us in the community face rejection, particularly when there is a strong, conservative, religious interpretation…I felt I had to create the foundation because a community and a conservative religious family did not understand what it means to be born gay.
“They saw it as a disease that needed to be got rid of; something incompatible with their interpretation of their religion.”
Mdm Ho shared the article without comment on her Facebook page, on Monday (22 July). Some netizens responding to her post appear to have taken her action to mean that she supports the LGBT community.
This is not the first time Mdm Ho has posted pro-LGBT posts on her personal Facebook page. Last year, she surprised many when she shared an invitation to the Pink Dot event on her Facebook page, over the Chinese New Year holidays.
Less than one week after she made news for sharing the Pink Dot event page on her social media wall, Mdm Ho made heads turn when she shared an article entitled ‘The colourful origins of the gay pride rainbow flag’ online.
Pink Dot is an annual non-profit event held at The Speakers Corner in support of the LGBT community in Singapore. The Government of Singapore is widely perceived to oppose the annual event, especially after it enforced tighter security restrictions at the event in 2017.
The government said that the restrictions were meant to bar foreigners from assembling at the Speakers Corner, but people on the ground felt that the measures (like submitting to an ID check and increased security barriers) scared some individuals off.
Officially, sex between mutually consenting men is criminalised in Singapore. While Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code – a British colonial-era legislation – is very rarely enforced here, a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years under Section 377A.