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In case you haven’t watched this… January 29, 2011

Posted by laïcité in Liberalism v Conservativism, Singapore, Society.
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(…but I’m pretty sure you have)

Having been living in the UK for the past 4 months, I’d have to say that I had somewhat of a delayed reaction when I chanced upon this video. My initial reaction was a non-reaction, really. I had grown used to a living in a city where homosexuality is simply a non-issue. People who defended gays hardly made the news; in fact, it is the homophobes who make headlines by causing outrage for their audacity and lack of tolerance. Imagine that. A society where being anti-gay is as politically incorrect as being anti-muslim.

Anyway, I soon realized the significance of what MM Lee said. His message wasn’t new; the “just leave homosexuals alone” message has been made again and again by activists and non activists alike. Neither was I surprised that MM Lee held such a liberal view. As much as I disagree with him on politics, I have always known and respected his pragmatism and rationalism, and there is nothing more practical or rational that just letting gays be gays.

What is significant is that for the first time, someone “up there” – someone who is respected, or even revered; someone with authority; someone whose views are given legitimacy simply because of who he is – gave his truthful opinion about homosexuality instead of the hardline right wing conservative rhetoric that we’re so used to from “those in power” (ahem). And perhaps more important is not what he said, but how he said it, as if it is no big deal. There’s no point attacking homosexuality or defending it, decrying it or promoting it, glorifying it or censoring it, when at the end of the day it really is no big deal.

I’m hoping for the day when “news” like this isn’t news anymore. “Minister XYZ supports equal rights for gays? Yawn. Big deal. So does the majority of the population. ” The day that someone publicly announces that he isn’t a homophobe and no one even blinks, is the day that we have all taken a step forwards towards equality.

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