Support for Section 377A falls under 50% among S'poreans: Ipsos

One in two respondents said they were willing to speak out against prejudice towards members of the LGBTQ community.

Low Jia Ying | June 17, 2022, 02:46 PM

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Fewer than half of Singaporeans surveyed remain supportive of Section 377a of the Penal Code, a recent survey by market research company Ipsos found.

The colonial-era law criminalises sex between men, although it is not proactively enforced.

Singaporeans were also found to be more supportive of same-sex couples, with one in two willing to speak out against prejudice towards the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.

Fewer Singaporeans supportive of Section 377a

The survey compared results to its previous iteration in 2018, and found that the percentage of those who remain supportive of 377a fell from 55 per cent in 2018, to 44 per cent in 2022.

The number of respondents who were opposed to Section 377A also increased by 8 per cent -- from 12 per cent in 2018 to 20 per cent in 2022.

This implies that those who don't care about 377A one way or another came in at 36 per cent of respondents.

The study on attitudes towards same-sex relationships by Ipsos surveyed 500 Singaporean citizens and permanent residents aged 18 and above between May and June this year.

The online survey was "nationally representative", said Ipsos, and employed quotas on age, gender and ethnicity to ensure that the sample's composition reflected the overall population's.

More positive views on same-sex couples

The study also found that attitudes towards same-sex relationships have become more favourable in the last three years, with 45 per cent of respondents saying they are more accepting of these relationships than they were three years ago.

67 per cent of young adults aged 18 to 29 reported becoming more accepting, compared to 29 per cent of respondents above the age of 50.

Melanie Ng, director of public affairs at Ipsos, said: "Today, we continue to see a steady shift in societal attitudes, led by younger adult Singaporeans who are more ready to see the country embrace same sex relationships. At the same time, while the older generation of Singaporeans remains largely opposed to same-sex relationships, we also see attitudes slowly changing."

Support for parent rights increases, more will stand up for community

Other findings from the study revealed that there is "significant support" for parenting rights for same-sex couples.

51 per cent of respondents agreed that same-sex couples are just as likely as other parents to successfully raise children, and 49 per cent agree that same-sex couples should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexual couples.

The study also found that 45 per cent of respondents said they were willing to speak out against someone who is prejudiced against LGBTQ people.

35 per cent of respondents also said they will support laws that ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in areas such as access to employment, education, housing and social services.

Ng noted that these results were "interesting" and indicated not just a growing acceptance of same-sex relationships, but "a deeper awareness of the issues confronting the individuals involved in such relationships".

"This understanding and empathy paves the way for Singaporeans to better embrace diversity and embed inclusivity within the nation's social fabric," she added.

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