Who are some LGBTQ Singaporean politicians

Southeast Asian city-state Singapore: homosexuals go to court

In the modern and conservative city-state, a law from the colonial era criminalizes homosexuals. Now they are fighting back.

Homosexuality is officially criminalized, but the annual gay and lesbian Pink Dot Festival is allowed under strict conditions Photo: Wong Maye-E / ap

SINGAPOREtaz | Singapore's Buddhists have recognized the signs of the times. The "Buddhist Fellowship" advocates the abolition of Paragraph 377, which criminalizes homosexuality. Buddhism is Singapore's most popular religion. Christians and Muslims, on the other hand, pray for paragraph 377 to be retained.

The debate over the law has become acute again in Singapore after India's Supreme Court recently annulled the paragraph bearing the same number. Like India, Singapore, where Indians form an important minority, was part of the British colonial empire. In that homosexuality was outlawed "as unnatural sex".

The gay community is backed by the 80-year-old high-ranking diplomat Tommy Koh, of all people. The appeal of the special adviser to the influential Institute for Political Studies: "Try again with a complaint before the Supreme Court."

This last failed in 2014. For Justice Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, the abolition of paragraph 377 is out of the question. Conservative society is not yet ready, said Shanmugam, who knows the churches and Muslims of the city-state behind him.

Singapore is a strange place for lesbians and gays

Protestants and Muslims sound: The homosexual lifestyle is "harmful to those affected" and "harmful to society". The Catholic Archbishop William Goh only says yes to the decriminalization of homosexuality if demands such as that for gay marriage are put in place by law.

Singapore is a strange place for gays and lesbians. Section 377 is no longer applied and the gay and lesbian nightlife is lively.

In July, 20,000 people attended the 10th Pink Dot Event in Hong Lim Park - including the openly gay Li Huanwu, grandson of state founder Lee Kuan Yew and nephew of incumbent Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The fact that the Pink Dot is allowed to take place as a local version of a Christopher Street Day in the otherwise demo-free island state is as remarkable as the rigid requirements: Political demands are taboo, foreigners are not allowed to participate and international companies such as Facebook and Google have been banned from sponsoring since 2016 .

There are also online gay and lesbian publications such as Dear Straight People by Sean Foo. "So far, I have not been bothered by the authorities," says Foo. In Dear Straight People he tells life stories of gays and lesbians. The 27-year-old got the idea when he came out to friends. “You asked a lot of questions. I realized how big the ignorance about gays is. "

Foo's parents read Dear Straight People not and suppress the gayness of their son. “They are conservative,” says Foo of his financially well-off family. "Prosperity does not automatically lead to more openness."

Justice Minister Shanmugam must now justify the law in the Supreme Court. Because the gay DJ Johnson Ong followed Tommy Koh's advice and filed a lawsuit.