Violence against any group unacceptable: Shanmugam & Goh Chok Tong
In a joint statement, LGBT groups say the community remains vulnerable.
The government has assured Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community that it will protect all groups, regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation.
In Facebook posts condemning the mass shooting in Orlando, Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong mentioned separately that violence against any group is unacceptable, and hate crimes will not be condoned, regardless of the communities targeted.
Shanmugam, who was responding to media queries about the Orlando shooting, said that the Government’s duty was to protect everyone and to act decisively in response to a threat to any group:
While Singaporeans may have disagreements in faiths, views and perspectives, they should be resolved by dialogue, not violence, said Goh.
These posts come after three police reports were filed Monday (Jun 13) over a Facebook comment by Bryan Lim, a member of the conservative “We are Against Pinkdot” group. He had allegedly said that if he were given the permission, he would “open fire” and “see these £@€$^*s die for their causes”.
Lim has since apologised and deactivated his social media accounts.
Meanwhile, some 23 LGBT community groups, including the organisers of Pink Dot, published a joint statement in response, highlighting that the LGBT community would still be vulnerable because of the lack of anti-discrimination laws and the presence of Section 377A, which criminalises gay sex.
“The presence of 377A in the Penal Code empowers hateful ideologies and individuals, giving them what amounts to a state-sanctioned trump card to act on ideas of destructive discrimination or worse, divisive hatred,” the statement read.
In addition, a candlelight vigil at Hong Lim Park, organised by community confessions page LGBT Voices Singapore, saw nearly 700 gather for the 49 victims killed in Orlando, Florida yesterday.
The Associated Press reported that the “tragedy half a world away has created an unlikely opening” for the community in Singapore as they “highlighted the predicament of their own largely underground community”.
“Tonight we hope that from this ugly tragedy, people start to realise the consequences of hate… We hope that in the aftermath of this incident, governments and world leaders would come together and agree that this can no longer happen again,” said community administrator Nicholas Lim.
“We hope that in the light of this tragedy, those who have hardened hearts against the LGBT community, would soften and realise we are more alike than different.”
Top photo from GLBT Voices Singapore