Rainbow Network: Singapore Survey Reveals Gay Support

Monday, May 22, 2000

A survey of nearly 500 adults in Singapore has shown that the majority would have no problem accepting a gay or lesbian member of the family.

Despite the government’s efforts to curb homosexuality in Singapore, some 46 per cent of those polled on the street and 74 per cent of internet respondents said they would accept a gay relative in the family - if not immediately, then after a while. They far outnumbered those who felt they would not be able to (only 26 per cent on the street and nine per cent from the internet).

Gay activist Alex Au, who helped organise the survey, said: "I am not surprised. In coming out, I have met nothing but friendliness and open-mindedness."

Another widely held view was that employers should not discriminate against homosexual employees.

Some 73 per cent of streetside respondents and 83 per cent of internet respondents agreed. It is not illegal to be gay in Singapore, but it remains illegal to conduct homosexual acts, either in private or public.

The government curbs displays of homosexual acts in the media. An episode of the American television series ‘Ally McBeal’ was recently banned because it showed lawyer Ally and co-worker Ling Woo kissing during an experimental date.

Gay activists conducted the survey as part of a recent push to gain greater recognition in society. They admit it was not 100 per cent scientific, but claim its results reflected public opinion.

Activists have applied for a licence to stage Singapore`s first ever homosexual forum this Sunday. They submitted their application on May 3, but have yet to receive a response.

The event would discuss the prospects for homosexuals under ‘Singapore 21’, a government campaign launched last year aimed at encouraging Singaporeans to participate more in society. Its slogan is ‘everyone counts’.