Bread. September 2007
"It's a matter of time," says Lee Kuan Yew
Once again, even though the reporter did not ask a gay question, Lee Kuan
Yew made reference to it. One cannot help but get the impression that it
is an issue that weighs quite heavily on the government.
The interview I am referring to was the one he gave to the International Herald Tribune on 24 August 2007 (the story appeared in the 29 August edition). The newspaper was represented by Leonard M. Apcar, deputy managing editor, Wayne Arnold, a Singapore correspondent, and Seth Mydans, Southeast Asia bureau chief.
Excerpt of the transcript from the website of the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts:
The second thing I noticed was the reference to "for the time being" and "It's a matter of time." This tells you that the non-repeal of Section 377A, the law that makes "gross indecency" between males a crime, coupled with a clear statement that it would not be "pro-actively enforced", is seen as no more than a way station.
Until when? You might ask. Indeed that is hard to say. The government may be waiting to see whether this half-measure will still hurt economically. If it does, in the form of an unshakeable image of intolerant puritanism, making foreign talent hesitate before relocating here or Singapore-born talent refusing to return after studies abroad, then they will move faster.
The third, and most striking thing was his mention of Muslims and older Chinese and Indians, whom I often call the "traditional conservatives". Indeed there are many Singaporeans in these groups who would resist social change, but as most observers would have noted, the most vocal anti-gay lobbying comes from an altogether different quarter -- the dogmatic Christians, who tend to be better educated, more westernised and often, not "heartlanders".
Why did Lee not mention them? In fact, looking back, I don't think he has ever mentioned them. By now, I do not believe he doesn't know about their lobbying, since he has obviously spent time reviewing the subject.
There are 2 possibilities that I can think of:
1. He doesn't want to legitimise their opposition. He knows it is religiously based and that if he recognises their argumentation as a factor then he opens a Pandora's box for Singapore.
2. He has come to the conclusion that numbers-wise, they aren't important; actually, it is quite obvious, when compared to traditional conservatives.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, the dogmatists try
ever harder. Listen to this recording of Derek Hong from the Church of Our
Saviour. It's so over-the-top, it's hard for any thinking person to take
He casts the struggle for gay equality as a selfish attempt to gain "special rights". He says Christians must "rise up" to fight the culture war, and that gays are acting on behalf of Satan. There's also an incredible amount of disinformation -- about how gays are scheming to eradicate Christianity, for example.
The person who sent the recording to me asked me to write about it, but frankly, there is no need to say much more. It speaks for itself.
In the middle part of Derek Hong's rant, he accuses gay people of wanting to "eradicate all self-help groups.... that seek to help homosexuals recover."
Now these are the notorious ex-gay programs that claim to "treat" homosexuality. Yet, over the years, there's been a steady stream of ex-gay leaders found to be lurking around still seeking homosexual sex. So much for being "cured". In 2003, I wrote about Michael Johnston and John Paulk in Ex-gay ministries and the cures that don't work.
That article also tells of others who have come to their senses and spoken out against the ex-gay deception. In fact, the same month that Hong was speaking, five ex-gay leaders in Australia publicly condemned such groups.
Conversion therapies condemned
Five former leaders of ex-gay ministries in Australia have publicly condemned the practice of teaching homosexuals to be heterosexual. Reparative/conversion therapies, which seek to alter a personís sexual orientation through disciplinary programs, have been dealt a blow in recent times as an increasing number of former leaders acknowledge that the practice does not work.
The apologies of three former ex-gay leaders at the Ex-gay Survivors Conference in Los Angeles in June encouraged a number of former Australian leaders to speak up.
Paul Martin was the former leader of Exodus in Melbourne, a ministry that "helped" men and women "find a way out of homosexuality".
There was not one person that I met or worked with who, in any genuine way, achieved the fundamental transformation from homosexual to heterosexual," Martin said.
The stress of attempting to change their sexual orientation, however, increased the risk of suicide, and absolutely led to erosion of self-esteem and increased levels of depression and self-deprecation at a very deep level."
Some people have suicided," he said. "But most people have now come to terms with their sexuality.
There is no success rate. The only success rate the programs have is a degree of heterosexual functionality, which is not a change of sexual orientation."
A number of Australian ministries still conduct conversion therapies today, including Living Waters and Liberty Christian Ministries.
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