SINGAPORE, Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – The mass shooting in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando isa tragedy and sobering reminder of the homophobia LGBT individuals experience on a daily basis. We are shocked and saddened by what has transpired in Orlando and we share in the pain of the families and friends of the victims. Tonight, communities gathered to remember the lives lost in a candlelight vigil at Hong Lim Park.
Our leaders have offered their statements of condolence to the victims of the shooting and we could not agree more that this was an act of senseless violence that led to the loss of innocent lives. We also applaud Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam’s reassuring words, as he recognised the fact the gay community had been targeted in the Orlando attack and pledged that the Singapore government would protect its people regardless of race, religion or sexuality.
However, the LGBT community here remains vulnerable from the lack of actual laws protecting us against discrimination and hate. Beyond physical violence, the LGBT community continues to have to deal with psychological and social violence.
The presence of 377A in the Penal Code empowers hateful ideologies and individuals, giving them what amounts to a state-sanctioned trump card to act on ideas of destructive discrimination or worse, divisive hatred.
Singapore has a secular and diverse society, with people from myriad backgrounds and beliefs, and places no one set of beliefs above another. We know the majority of Singaporeans are understanding, loving people, who can discern beyond the guise of traditional values to advocate an all-encompassing and inclusive diversity.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has called for dialogue and engagement. It is our hope, as an LGBT community, that through meaningful dialogue and engagement, our leaders will get the opportunity to better understand the LGBT community. At the end of the day, we want the same thing – a safe, peaceful and united Singapore for all Singaporeans.