Frequently Asked Questions
When will this petition be closing?
The first batch of signatures has been submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs as part of the public consultation to the Penal Code Review on Friday, 28 September 2018. However we have kept the petition open indefinitely as our road to repeal continues. Sign the petition now.
What will happen to this petition after this deadline?
Your name and signatures will be sorted into your respective constituencies, and we intend to deliver them to your respective Members of Parliament before the end of the year.
This petition is also just the start of the long road to the repeal of Section 377A in Singapore and we look forward to your continued engagement with this cause.
Why did you choose to respond with a petition?
The period for public consultation of the Penal Code review ends on 30 September 2018. Given the heavy impact of the criminal law on each and every Singaporean, it is important for all Singaporeans to engage with this issue and participate in this democratic consultation process.
We believe that this petition has the power to show the Government and the rest of society that unlike a decade ago, the gay community and its allies have not only grown in number, but also in courage to stand up and be counted. We also believe that this petition provides a platform for prominent and influential leaders in Singapore to act on their conscience, take a public stand on the issue, and lead the way to change.
ABOUT SECTION 377A
What is Section 377A?
Section 377A of the Penal Code, also known as the crime of “Outrages on Decency”, makes sex between two mutually consenting adult males a crime.
It has its roots in section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which was imposed in 1861 during Britain’s colonial rule of India and imported into Singapore by the British in 1938.
The UK finally repealed its version of this law in 1967. India repealed section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in September 2018. When will it be Singapore’s turn?
Section 377A isn’t being enforced by the government today. Doesn’t it mean that gay men aren’t really affected? Isn’t that good enough?
In October 2007, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament that Section 377A will not be actively enforced. However such a statement is not legally binding and there is no guarantee that the law will not be used against gay men.
Furthermore, as long as Section 377A remains law, it remains a strong symbol of condemnation which has negative repercussions on the LGBTQ+ community in various areas:-
Healthcare and mental health of LGBTQ+ individuals
LGBTQ+ people often deal with multiple stresses resulting from social stigma and discrimination as they are branded “criminals” by the law. While Singapore provides a wide range of social, mental health, and general healthcare services, there are limited LGBTQ-specific services available. Moreover, because of the criminalisation under Section 377A, LGBTQ+ individuals may not be comfortable disclosing their sexuality or sexual history to medical care providers. There are also restrictions on the promotion of HIV prevention and treatment programmes by public health providers amongst the LGBTQ+ community. This results in LGBTQ+ individuals missing out on vital healthcare.
Media portrayal and censorship
Portrayals of LGBTQ+ individuals as well as discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in the mass media are subject to censorship. Both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ viewers are therefore denied sources of comfort, inspiration, and pride, and are also deprived of opportunities to learn about related issues and developments around the world.
Sex education and counselling services in schools
Because of Section 377A, there is no information on safe sex for LGBTQ+ teens in the current sex education syllabus. Students who want to discuss LGBTQ+ issues with their teachers/school counsellors often feel like they are not able to, due to the criminality imposed by Section 377A.
Registration of LGBTQ+ organisations
Unable to officially register organisations, LGBTQ+ groups in Singapore lack legitimate status or recognition and are unable to fundraise and/or properly engage the Government and society on matters aimed at improving the lives of LGBTQ+ Singaporeans.
LGBTQ+ people may face workplace bullying, prejudice, harassment and/or blackmail but feel like they have no legal recourse due to the criminalisation under Section 377A.
In summary, the existence of the law has an insidious and invidious effect on LGBTQ+ Singaporeans, who often suffer and struggle in silence throughout their lives.
Section 377A only concerns gay men. Why should other Singaporeans care?
Gay men are our sons, brothers, uncles, relatives, friends, or loved ones. We care about their well-being, self-esteem, quality of life, and happiness.
Moreover, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. As Singapore progresses and develops as a nation, we want all our fellow citizens to be treated as equals and enjoy the right to live a dignified life, free from prejudice and discrimination.
CASUAL RESPONSES TO COMMON FEEDBACK
We need to keep Section 377A! The repeal of Section 377A is the start of a slippery slope. Once Section 377A is repealed, the gay community will start asking for the right to marry, adopt children and legaliSe paedophilia and beastiality! How can this be allowed?
Repealing Section 377A is about decriminalizing sex between mutually consenting, male adults. This repeal is necessary and of pressing concern because the numerous negative effects that Section 377A has on the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore. Repealing Section 377A will not automatically lead to the legalization of same sex marriage and the adoption of children by same sex couples. That is another conversation for another day. As for paedophilia and bestiality, children and animals have no ability to give consent. Further, gay people are only interested in each other, not children or animals, so the repeal of Section 377A has nothing to do with promoting paedophilia and bestiality.
My religion teaches that homosexuality is a sin. If Section 377A is repealed, my religious leaders will not be able to speak out about it and they will be forced to celebrate same sex marriages, and businesses will be forced to bake cakes for gay couples. How can this be allowed?
Singapore is a secular society that is home to everyone regardless of race, language or religion and because of that, laws in Singapore need to be enacted or retained based on secular principles. Repealing Section 377A is the first step towards removing the discrimination that LGBTQ people in Singapore face. It has no impact on the freedom of religion. Religious leaders can continue with their religious teachings even if Section 377A is repealed. As for businesses, they should be inclusive anyway! Imagine how hangry you would be if a cafe refused to provide you with food because you belong to a minority group.
If Section 377A is repealed, the birth rate will go down and that will be the end of Singapore.
Repealing Section 377A won’t turn a straight person gay. The overwhelming majority of Singaporeans are straight and straight couples will still continue to have children to replace the population even if Section 377A is repealed.