S'pore govt survey seeking views on LGBT+ community & Section 377A gets 'overwhelming response'

REACH said feedback from the survey will be shared with government agencies and could be used for policy updates and changes.

Low Jia Ying | March 23, 2022, 06:11 PM

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The Singapore government's feedback unit, REACH, launched a public survey on the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community and Section 377A of the Penal Code, a law that criminalises sex between men.

The survey was commissioned following Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam's speech in parliament on Mar. 3 during the Committee of Supply debates. Shanmugam said the government was considering the "best way forward" with regards to Section 377A.

Shanmugam said in his speech on Mar. 3:

"We must respect the different viewpoints, consider them carefully, talk to the different groups, and if and when we decide to move, we will do so in a way that continues to balance between these different viewpoints and avoids causing a sudden destabilising change in social norms and public expectations."

According to The Straits Times (ST), the public survey is likely one of the first by REACH to gather sentiments on the topic.

The survey was closed at noon today (Mar. 23) following "an overwhelming response".

Feedback will be shared with relevant agencies

In the survey's preamble, REACH said: "We wish to hear your thoughts about the LGBT+ community in Singapore."

The survey was open to “everyone regardless of [their] sexual orientation and/or gender identity”, though participants were only able to indicate their year of birth as 2004 or earlier — suggesting that the survey could have been intended for those aged 18 and above this year.

Feedback from the survey would be "shared with relevant agencies and could be used within the government for policy updates and changes", said REACH.

Questions on acceptance of LGBT+ community in Singapore, whether 377A should be repealed

The 10-minute survey collected demographic information of the participants, such as whether their gender was male, female or others.

Under the "Nationality" question, participants could also indicate whether they are Singaporean, a permanent resident, or a foreigner.

The survey sought views on whether the participants felt the LGBT+ community was accepted in Singapore, and whether the participants themselves were supportive of the LGBT+ community and its causes.

The survey also asked participants whether they thought Section 377A should be repealed, maintained, modified, or whether they were indifferent about it.

They were asked to supplement their responses via an open-ended answer box.

Screenshot via forms.gov.sg

Participants who identified themselves as "an LGBT+ person" were also asked whether they felt accepted in Singapore and what their quality of life was like.

They were also asked whether they have been treated differently, and what other challenges they faced.

Survey closes due to "an overwhelming response"

A link to the survey was circulated widely online, with many encouraging others to participate.

Pink Dot SG also shared the link to the survey on their Facebook page on Mar. 23 asking people to "make [their] concerns known".

Non-profit organisation Oogachaga, which provides counselling and educational services to the LGBT community, called for its followers to take the survey in a Facebook post, and said that it would close "by the end of this week, likely Friday, 25 March".

An update on the survey's preamble later stated that the survey would close at noon on Mar. 23.

Screenshot via forms.gov.sg

After 12pm on Mar. 23, the survey was no longer available.

The survey link redirected to a page explaining that there was "an overwhelming response" that far exceeded the "usual number of responses".

ST reported that the survey had received over 30,000 responses by the time it closed on Wednesday.

Screenshot via forms.gov.sg

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Top photos via forms.gov.sg and Pink Dot/FB