Gay debate: Who should take the lead?

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It is time we talk more about our approach towards homosexuality. MP Hri Kumar Nair said that instead of looking to the government, “it is for the society to set the direction” on this matter.

“The furore over Health Promotion Board’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) raises the issue of the Government sending mixed messages to the public,” he wrote on a Facebook note on Friday.

“Taking one side, whatever the reason will alienate the other. That is why you have not heard a peep from the Workers’ Party MPs on this issue,” he said.

But, he said, taking sides would not solve the issue.

“The battle will not be resolved by the attacks that are usually associated with this issue – one side calling the other “evil, paedophiles and deviants”, and the other responding with comments like “ignorant, religious bigots”.

Hri Kumar remained convinced that neither side will bend to the will of the other.

“Let us not forget the reason for the FAQs in the first place: there are people in our society who have questions concerning their sexuality and who are deeply affected by it,” he added, insisting that HPB should not retreat from its role to educate and help them.

While many among the 50 odd netizens who have commented on Hri Kumar’s note applauded him, some netizens questioned why the government should not lead in this matter .

“I read the comments by Mr Hri Kumar with much concern. I thought our government has always taken a more paternalistic role but now it is saying: ” Let our society decide”?

“Some things don’t change and they shouldn’t; for example, values. If even core values that define the way of life are ever changing, what do we as parents teach our kids?” wrote Amy How.

Another netizen, Emeritus Robox, also remained adamant that the government should be the “catalyst” on the LGBT issue.

He noted that if the government were to take the lead on the matter, it would give the LGBT community a sense of acceptance.

“We could begin – just begin – to reverse the effects of decades of deliberate exclusion, marginalisation, and demonisation that we have been subjected to. Only then can they [the LGBT community] begin to feel like they BELONG in Singapore, as it should have been all along,” he said.