Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises acts of “gross indecency” between males “in public or private”, is one of the most controversial topics in Singapore today. Some consider the law to be outdated and discriminatory against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), et cetera. Others who favour retaining Section 377A consider the law to be a critical symbol of Singapore’s mainstream values on marriage and family, as well as sexuality and gender.
Apart from law and policy, the debate also has implications on a wider question of social harmony: How can people with vastly differing viewpoints coexist side by side in Singapore society, without resulting in clashes or conflicts over deeply held values? With these issues in mind, we consider what the best way forward is.