ST Forum: Criminalisation of gay acts: need for equality before the law (May 22, 2007)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ST Forum

May 22, 2007
Criminalisation of gay acts: Need for equality before the law

I REFER to Ms Yvonne Lee's letter, 'Gay debate continues: Writer responds', (Online forum, May 17).

Ms Lee has quoted from the affidavit for a court case of one medical doctor, John R. Diggs, Jr, MD, that homosexual acts are inherently unhealthy.

A closer examination of the affidavit whose source is supplied by Ms Lee herself shows that Dr Diggs observed: 'People who engage in homosexuality have the same basic sexual equipment as people who do not.

'This meant that heterosexuals have the same sexual organs and some can also engage in what is regarded as 'homosexual acts' as well.

Unsafe sex by heterosexuals and homosexuals can result in the same medical and health risks like those listed by Ms Lee - promiscuity, multiple sexual partners, assault and battery and anal intercourse.

Homosexuals do not have the monopoly of such risks. In reality heterosexuals carry higher risks and spread sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/Aids to their sexual partners and unborn children.

In the discussion on natural drives, Dr Diggs wrote: 'We discourage heterosexual promiscuity, cigarette smoking, and intoxication of various sorts, even though there may be a natural inclination to do these things. Some claim a natural inclination, as adults, to sexually exploit children. This society discourages to the point of making it criminal.

'Dr Diggs is right that we should discourage heterosexuals from expressing such inclinations. At the same time I agree with him that we should do the same with homosexuals.

But homosexual orientation is not an inclination or a tendency that we must curb. It is just as natural an orientation as the heterosexual to engage in heterosexual and for some homosexual acts as well.

Sexuality is common and the health risks of sexual acts are the same. The distinctive difference is that of same-sex and opposite-sex acts.

Why do we criminalise one and not the other? This is where there is a need for equality before the law and justice needs to be seen to be served.

Dr Yap Kim Hao