Singapore — A leading online LGBT publication in Asia has praised PAP MP Baey Yam Keng for featuring a transgender man in his Instagram live chat on Sunday night (Sept 27).
The publication, Dear Straight People, wrote in a Facebook post: “An unprecedented move for a Singaporean politician from the ruling party. Baey even used the right pronouns!”
An unprecedented move for a Singaporean politician from the ruling party. Baey even used the right pronouns!
Mr Baey is an MP for Tampines GRC and Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Transport.
“Kudos to Baey Yam Keng for daring to openly support the LGBT+ community in Singapore, which is still a ‘sensitive’ topic that most politicians in Singapore avoid,” wrote Dear Straight People.
The MP had invited the public to listen to his hour-long chat with a Tampines resident named Keegan. He said Keegan was undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
View this post on Instagram
Keegan is a 19-year old Tampines resident who is undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Several months ago, I did a shoutout for residents to join my IG Live Chat to share something interesting about their life, passion or experience. It was courageous of Keegan to approach me offering to talk about his journey of becoming Keegan. Join us at 10pm tomorrow (Sunday). #livechatwithbyk #Tampinesresident #LGBT
The MP’s public support for gay rights dates back to 2007. He was the first PAP MP to accept an invitation to an LGBT rights forum. He was also part of a 5-member panel convened to discuss whether homosexual sex should remain criminalised in Singapore, and had publicly voiced his support for Section 377A of the Penal Code to be repealed.
He said: ”Personally, I think that the Whip should be lifted for a very open debate and open expression of opinion by the MPs. And if that is so, I would vote for a repeal of the act. From my understanding of my parliamentary colleagues, my guess is that I will be the minority.”
Many people online thanked Mr Baey for his support as well, and congratulated Keegan on his courage for speaking out. However, some believe that what the MP has done is not enough.
While Wake Up, Singapore gave Mr Baey credit for expressing “somewhat pro-LGBT views” and showing sensitivity to the community, it pointed out that the MP can do much more.
It added: “However, as an MP and a member of the ruling party, Baey has a lot more power to push for change.
“Simple tokenistic gestures are not enough to alleviate the struggles of the LGBT people. They face very real issues and discrimination which call for substantive action.”
Wake Up, Singapore also invited the MP to “table a motion in Parliament to repeal 377A” as well as “interrogate the rationales behind archaic laws and policies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people”.
In a 2007 speech, which can be found here, Mr Baey supported the repeal of Section 377A. /TISG