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The Hwa Chong anti-gay sex ed saga began in mid-July 2022 with a viral post on Reddit alleging that a counsellor at Hwa Chong Institution had shown slides during a sex education talk which were absurd and highly discriminatory towards the LGBT community. After confirmation from various parties that the event had actually taken place, a nationwide uproar ensued. Subsequently, the school merely barred the staff member from conducting such talks in the future, a move which LGBT activists deemed not to be any meaningful action. However, in early August 2022, after the issue was brought up in Parliament, the counsellor was reported by the Ministry of Education to have been suspended from all duties.

Viral Reddit post[]

On Saturday, 16 July 2022, a post on Reddit by user DAvengingAngels[1] reported that a set of objectionable slides was presented during a talk to all Secondary 4 students at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) during a level assembly on Wednesday, 13 July 2022[2]. The slides made discriminatory and absurd statements such as "58% of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms" and "23% of children with lesbian parents have been sexually abused". The post mentioned that while the presenter was trying to make the point that feeling gay was not necessarily an indication of being gay, the slides were deemed highly offensive towards the LGBT community, even more so towards students who were uncertain of their own sexuality and had yet to make up their minds. A video by the ex-gay church truelove.is was also screened during the presentation, revealing the talk's religious affiliation. The post went viral over the weekend, with the shocking nature of the allegations understandably causing much distress to the LGBT community, especially since it was reportedly given by a school counsellor at one of Singapore’s top schools.

HCI&Slides2.jpg


One commenter said that it was not just offensive to LGBT students, it was also offensive to the commenter, both for the unacceptable messages on the screen, but also simply because it presented lies as facts to children in their school environment. The individual felt that any school principal should be horrified and ashamed this happened within their school.

Corroborated reports from other Redditors later revealed that:

  • the presentation was solely by the HCI counsellor and no external organisation was involved. The presentation was not vetted by the school.
  • HCI's principal would be addressing the school regarding the presentation on Monday morning, 18 July 2022 via an email[3], the text of which is reproduced here:

"Dear Sec 4 Students,

Thank you for your feedback and concerns with regard to Wednesday's assembly session. We appreciate your comments and reflections, and for reaching out to us directly.

The school takes a serious view of the matter. Principal Mr Pang and the school leaders will be addressing the entire Sec 4 cohort next Monday (18 Jul).

Please report to the the High School Auditorium at 7.30am for the morning flagraising, followed by the session. You need not report to the school terraces.

Should you have any queries, please feel free to reach out to the School Leaders or your Consortium Director directly. We look forward to the engagement session on Monday. Have a good weekend ahead.

Best regards,

Mr Pang, Ms Lim and Mrs Chin"

  • The following video from the ex-gay church truelove.is was shown at the end of the talk[4]:


In the video, a good-looking middle-aged man named Shaun Goh described the guilt he felt about being attracted to men while growing up and how he overcame his feelings of deficiency by embracing the Christian god who told him he was a "man" and "complete". He said that one should not be too quick to label oneself as "gay" just because one had these feelings. The video purveyed the usual ex-gay message which preyed on the insecurities of homosexuals and promised that their problems would be solved if they followed the tenets of the religion and lived as a heterosexual would. In other words, it promoted conversion therapy which has been shown to ineffective and harmful.

  • The slides were shown as an example that sexual orientation was a "polarising" issue, of something that was presented as a negative.
  • Some quotes from the speaker were:
    • "SSA (same sex attraction) is not a sign of being gay/homosexual"
    • "We should not be too hasty in labelling ourselves". Its intended message was: If you've came out as LGBT, it's not the end of the world. This implied that it was a big "decision".

Heckin' Unicorn verified on his Instagram account[5] that the talk took place at HCI[6],[7]:

HeckinUnicornHCI003.jpg


Full content of slides[]

A collage of the two slides is shown below:

HwaChongSexEdCollage.jpg


Editable text of the slides:

WHAT ARE LGBT SO PROUD OF?

  • 58% OF HOMOSEXUALS HAVE PROBLEMS WITH INTESTINAL WORMS
  • 1 IN 15 HOMOSEXUALS IS A PEDOPHILE
  • 33% OF HOMOSEXUALS HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ALCOHOLISM
  • ON AVERAGE, A GAY MAN HAS UP TO 80 SEXUAL PARTNERS PER YEAR AND ON AVERAGE A TOTAL OF 1,000 OVER A LIFETIME. ON AVERAGE, A STRAIGHT MAN HAS 8 SEXUAL PARTNERS IN HIS LIFETIME
  • PERFECT CORRELATION BETWEEN CHILDHOOD RAPE AND HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR. 47% OF GAYS ADMIT TO HAVING BEEN RAPED BY AN ADULT MAN DURING THEIR CHILDHOOD OR ADOLESCENCE
  • HOMOSEXUALS REPRESENT 2% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION BUT THEY REPRESENT 33% OF PEDOPHILE RAPISTS
  • 78% OF HOMOSEXUALS HAVE STDS (SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES)
  • 23% OF CHILDREN WITH LESBIAN PARENTS HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED
  • HOMOSEXUALS REPRESENT 2% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION BUT THEY REPRESENT 67% OF AIDS PATIENTS
  • 51% OF CASES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OCCUR IN SAME-SEX COUPLES

Open letters from HCI alumni[]

In response to the viral post, several gay alumni from Hwa Chong Institution issued open letters in support of the LGBT community, particularly LGBT students who attended the talk.

Otto Fong[]

OttoFongAlumnus.jpg

Among them was Otto Fong, the teacher who infamously sparked a national controversy when he came out in 2007. Since then, Fong had become one of Singapore’s most prominent gay advocates. He delivered numerous speeches, including a keynote address at Pink Dot 2011 as well as a speech to Google’s LGBT network.

Fong had recently acted in Getaway, which made history as Singapore’s first gay BL web drama series.

Fong's open letter was published on his Facebook[8]:

"Dear staff, parents and students of Hwa Chong,

An internal school counsellor of Hwa Chong recently gave a Sexuality Education for Sec 4 students. In the slides, he made some statements which are detrimental to the LGBTQ community.

Some of the statements included:

“58% of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms”, “33% of homosexuals have problems with alcoholism” and “1 in 15 homosexuals is a pedophile”.

A video by truelove.is, a group which portrays themselves as helping homosexuals but are really focused on turning homosexual behaviour towards heterosexual behavior (in vain and possibly causing significant harm to the victims), was also played in the the end of the talk.

There is no evidence that gay people are more or less likely to be pedophiles. One researcher, Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health in America, has stated, “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality. The information they present is misleading and incorrect.” (Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center splcenter.org). If we google, we will find that most of the science and scientists conclude that homosexuality is merely a natural occurrence and is like ever group in the world: there are good people and there are horrible people, but most are quite ordinary people.

I try to imagine myself sitting through a talk so biassed against my community. If I was a straight student, I would easily conclude that all gay people are disgusting and to be hated. If I was a gay student, I would be frightened further to hide my identity, to join the bullying of other gay people or even become suicidal. When no positive information and accurate research are given by a school counsellor, who we are supposed to trust for our well being, both straight and gay students are shortchanged in terms of scientific thinking and unfair discrimination against a minority would be perpetuated.

I was lucky to be taught some solid science back in Hwa Chong. Even though there was no sexuality education during my school years, I went to the bookstores to get some sparse information relevant to me. I was also lucky that my HC teachers prepared me well enough to do well in my O Levels. My parents sent me to the States for further education. I bought lots of books on the subject and spoke to many gay seniors, who guided me towards a life of hope and showed me that being gay does not affect my ability to live a fulfilling and moral life.

Not all gay people are as fortunate as I to get a strong foundation in a good school. Certainly not many gay people get a more balanced view about homosexuality. I did not live with a low sense of self believing the prevalent anti-gay rhetorics, but I did see some gay people use alcohol to drown their sorrow.

I became a science teacher in Raffles Institution (though Hwa Chong did invite me over to teach too but I was emotionally-attached to my first batch of RI form class to let go of them after only 1 year). I taught in the school for eight years. I then become an author of a Science comic series and gave assembly talks to more than 100 Singaporean schools. Some of you might have watched a local tv series called ‘Totally Totto’ or read a comic called ‘Sir Fong’s Adventures in Science’. Those are this gay teacher’s creations.

I am now teaching in an international school in Thailand, and I am openly-gay to all my colleagues and students. Two of my former Thai students scored top in English in their schools, and one just got accepted into Hwa Chong! None of the parents made my sexuality an issue, as Thailand does not have a culture that supports discrimination based on sexuality. Gay people are part and parcel of daily life, and society does not seem to be affected adversely in any way as some Singaporeans like you to think.

Oh, I am also with my gay partner for 24 years. No domestic violence as the internal counsellor mentioned. The true horror of being gay is this: as we reached our 50s, we found dad jokes actually very funny.

I sympathise with those who are anti-gay. They grew up in an environment that continuously taught them to be fearful of a natural minority. It must be difficult to have to reconcile what they see around them with that disparage, distorted information. But I cannot sit by quietly while this kind of information is once again fed to another group of vulnerable, trusting students.

Thus, I join my Hwa Chong alumni in standing here, addressing all the parents and students and hoping that our personal examples will offer you a more balanced view on this issue. To the parents and students, I say to you: “I am not what that internal counsellor taught you. The gay teachers I know are not what he taught you. We are no better nor worse than the average straight teachers, and you can be sure we will be dutiful and accountable to the parents who entrust their children to us. I am not the kind of person the internal counsellor will have you believe. I live a decent life, work hard and take good care of my family. The values taught to me by my parents - my dad was also a Hwa Chong alumni - and my teachers remained more or less intact, and were only enhanced as I learn more about myself as a human and a gay person. The distorted information presented to you by the internal counsellor is unsupported and harmful, and you need not accept them.”

To students who might be questioning your sexuality, I say to you, “Do not let others define and dictate how you turn out. Not the counsellor, not even me. Take time to do your research and read as much as you can, learn the scientific process taught by your Science teachers. Learn empathy from your Humanity teachers. Learn how to tell what is history and how it can be misinterpreted and misunderstood in time. Learn languages well so that you can source from various cultures. THEN, when you are ready, decide who you really are, and live a good life even when some desperately want you to fail.”

Yours sincerely,

Otto Fong

Always a proud Hwa Chong Old Boy, an Raffles Institution teacher and a gay person."

Gary Lim[]

GaryLimAlumnus.jpg

Another alumnus who penned an open letter was Gary Lim. In 2012, Lim and his long-term partner Kenneth Chee filed a legal challenge against Section 377A of the Penal Code, the law that criminalised sex between men.

Their constitutional challenge failed, but it sparked a much needed national conversation on Section 377A and what it stood for. The following year, Gary and Kenneth hired top lawyers to launch an appeal against Section 377A but unfortunately, their appeal was again unsuccessful.

Lim's open letter was also published on his Facebook[9]:

"Dear students of Hwa Chong and parents,

As an alumnus of HCI (CHS 1981-84 and HJC 1985-86), I find it incredibly disturbing to read that blatant misinformation was presented to students at a school assembly by their student counsellor, no less, who is supposed to be someone the students turn to for proper guidance. I feel totally disgusted and embarrassed that outright untruths (taken from a satirical account on Twitter) were cited as facts. Why was the presentation not properly vetted?

I didn’t come out when I was in CHS. However, I was still called names like “chao ah gua” by students from other classes, often shouting unabashedly from their classroom windows as they knew they wouldn’t be reprimanded. Such experiences were very stressful for a young gay boy. I was fortunate to have a few gay friends in my class though we were never out to one another. We had only our unspoken bond to keep us sane and make us feel safe.

I’m really glad that we didn’t have sex education like the above-mentioned presentation during my time. A talk such as the one given by that unprofessional counsellor can really make things worse for LGBT+ students. It’s flagrantly encouraging non-LGBT+ students to further discriminate against them. Discriminatory actions can be easily justified as “the Student Counsellor said so” or worse, “the School said so”.

“What are LGBT so proud of?”

  • I’m proud that I’ve survived and thrived.
  • I’ve been in a stable and loving relationship for 25 years.
  • I have an amazing husband who has loved me unconditionally for almost half my life (I’m 54 now).
  • I have a loving family who accepts and respects us as spouses.
  • I have wonderful close friends, both LGBT+ and non-LGBT+, whom we love dearly.

These are my truths. To LGBT+ students, find your own truths. Don’t let misinformation stop you from being who you are. Things really do get better.

Much love,

Gary"

Other gay alumni[]

Oogachaga was contacted by an informal group of gay alumni from the Chinese High School, Hwa Chong Junior College and Hwa Chong Institution who wrote an open letter addressed to HCI students and parents[10]:

"18 July 2022

An Open Letter Addressed to Hwa Chong Institution students, and your Parents

As an informal group of LGBT alumni from The Chinese High School, Hwa Chong Junior College and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), we are writing in response to recent online news about an assembly talk called “What are LGBT so proud of?”

In short, the infographic that was presented seems to be full of misinformation that perpetuates unhelpful stereotypes about the LGBT community through questionable statistics from unverifiable sources.

We also understand that during the talk, a video from a Singaporean group called truelove.is was screened. Although they describe themselves as helping LGBT people to “come out and come home”, they are in fact a Christian organisation that believes they can stop LGBT people from having “same sex attraction”, seeing it as something shameful that needs to be curbed or corrected.

Their approach has been linked to a defunct American organisation called Exodus International, which shut down in 2013 after issuing an apology to the LGBT community for "years of undue judgement by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole".

We are especially concerned that as a secular, independent school, HCI has decided to allow this, especially since there is no evidence to show that such “conversion” practices are effective. In fact, there is evidence to show that these approaches often cause harm and could even be considered professionally unethical.

To LGBT students & youth:

As adults, we are also proud members of Singapore’s LGBT community. We would like to say to you, if you’re a student who is questioning your sexuality and/ or gender identity, or you already know that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or nonbinary:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We stand with you.

If you are currently feeling lonely, scared, worried or anxious about what might happen to you, it’s OK. Reach out to a friend, adult or even teacher that you can trust and feel safe with, and talk about how you feel. It could be in person or online.

Please know there is other support for you that is affirming and non-judgemental. Such support should not make you feel worse, ashamed or guilty. Here are some LGBT-affirming professional counselling resources: https://www.congregaytion.com/professional-organisations

If you’re feeling emotionally distressed or even suicidal because of this or other incidents, please reach out. Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) provides a 24h suicide prevention service, including text messaging, email and hotline services. Details are here: www.SOS.org.sg

Why Pride? What’s there to be Proud of?

The title of the presentation seems to suggest that the LGBT community is conceited, even arrogant. Some people who want to erase our humanity and identity will draw on the strength of their conviction and oppress us.

We say to you “Do not let others define and dictate who you are.” Just remember, you are equal, you are strong.

That’s why we as a community feel Pride. Pride is about standing up and not feeling ashamed of who or what we are. Pride is the opposite of shame.

Pride is knowing that you have survived this far, and still looking forward. In the years to come, on your life's journey, you will find and achieve many things that you will be so proud of, just like we did.

To classmates and friends of LGBT people:

If you’re a classmate or friend of someone who is LGBT, we encourage you to be kind and understanding towards each other.

We encourage you to do your research and read as widely as you can. Practise the scientific process taught by your Science teachers. Display empathy taught by your Humanities teachers. Learn about history and how it can be misinterpreted and misunderstood in different contexts. Don’t believe everything you see on the screen or read online.

The presentation was saying, don’t be gay if you don’t want to suffer bad health outcomes and lead a terrible life. It is framing the problem wrongly. What if, as moral and ethical people, we ask, what can we do to improve the health outcomes of everyone? That means not targeting already vulnerable groups and questioning why LGBT youth – and adults too – are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, for example. In school, we learned that correlation does not equal causation. What do we collectively need to do?

Your friendship and allyship with your LGBT friends is very crucial, so that together you can continue to grow and learn.

To parents:

We urge you to apply a critical lens so as not to be misled by biassed opinions falsely presented as fact.

We hope that you and your children do not lose the critical ability to interrogate the purported "facts" presented, and you should instead investigate the sources, before deciding for yourselves.

If you are a parent whose child has already come out to you as LGBT, or perhaps they may come out to you in the years to come, you are not alone.

In time to come, you will hopefully realise that there is a lot to be proud of. It is hard to put into words, but coming out as LGBT is one of the hardest things anyone can do.

That is why back in your day, you probably did not see or hear of many people “coming out”. Most of us did not come out whilst studying at The Chinese High School or Hwa Chong Junior College. This is because of the fear of social stigma. Why does that persist?

There is a small segment of society that insists on imposing its black-or-white, right-or-wrong view on a minority group, utilising whatever means necessary to deny our existence. That is why coming out is so scary, and because of that, you will be incredibly proud of your child's honesty and bravery in coming out to you.

Even after your child has come out to you, they are still the same child before they came out to you. You will still love them, and you will be proud of them.

Here are some online resources, mostly from other parents of LGBT children: https://www.congregaytion.com/parents-families

We wish everyone all the very best, to continue to live with passion, lead with compassion.

自强不息, 学以致用

If you would like to add your name to this Open Letter, please fill in this form here: https://tinyurl.com/signHCIopenletter

This open letter is signed by:

Otto Fong 方永进

1981 to 1985

Derrick Chiang 张衍泽

The Chinese High School, 1987-1990

Gary Lim

The Chinese High School, 1981-1984

Hwa Chong Junior College, 1985-1986"

Response of LGBT community and allies[]

Kelvin Tan[]

KelvinTan&Family.jpg

Openly gay teacher-turned-counsellor Kelvin Tan made the following supportive post on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of himself and his family[11]:

"I am OK. You are OK.

Hello there young people

This is an open letter to you to let you know - you are okay and you are loved.

A little bit about myself:

I am known as Mr Tank, and I am a teacher-turned-counsellor. I happen to be gay too and I knew it all my life. But I only let selected people know about that part of my life for the past 25 years because I grew up thinking that it was shameful to be me.

I was also encouraged by my friends and family, who have been very protective of me, to keep my sexual orientation a secret, so that I won’t have to face jeering, discrimination and rejection from other people - such as my employers, relatives, etc.

“Why subject yourself to the unnecessary scrutiny of others?” they asked.

For a long time, I believed this and I did exactly as I was expected to. But as I grew older, I realised what I was doing was harmful to me. Every time I didn’t live authentically, I actually was internalising the message that “I am not okay”. I also sometimes even feel uncomfortable with other gay people, even though I am gay. This is known as internalised homophobia.

It is a peculiar concept, I must say. You can imagine, perhaps, that a straight person becomes uncomfortable with another straight person for being attracted to someone of the opposite gender. Quite unimaginable, isn’t it?

This, however, is the lived experience of a gay person - you constantly live your life in a way that reinforces the idea that you are not okay. The people around you are not okay. Coupled with the pains of adolescence, it’s no wonder depression, anxiety and addiction have all found their way into our lives.

Recently, I saw the news about an HCI school counsellor spreading untruths and hate through an assembly talk. As an adult even, the slides triggered a flurry of emotions - anger, grief and fear - in me. I imagine my 16-year-old self sitting through such a presentation - how traumatic I must have felt to hear such ‘facts’ coming from a trusted educator? A dear friend of mine texted me and told me how much it affected him as well.

As an LGBT teacher, I was just as ‘normal’ as my straight counterparts. I taught all levels, all streams, had CCA, gave extra lessons, and scolded my students sometimes, but had also spent endless after-office hours planning lessons and grading papers. I brought students around the world. I also designed the language curriculum for my school. I believe that I had also been a cheerful and loving colleague to other teachers.

My family is just as ‘normal’ as any other family. The term “Family values” is not monopolised by Christians (I am a Catholic, by the way). I have my parents and sister whom I love very much and they do as well. I also have a loving 11-year partner. We have 5 cats and live in a tiny and cosy HDB flat, like most of you. I also have my Catholic Godpa and Godma.

I am very fortunate to have the love of all these people who matter very much to me. But to the people who dislike me because of my sexuality, I have only one thing to say: “Noted, with thanks. And I exist despite your intolerance.”

Our needs, gay or straight (or anything in between), are all very, very similar - we all need to survive, to be free to pursue our dreams, to feel a sense of self-empowerment, to do things that are fun and enriching, and most importantly, to feel love and belonging.

I also want to give you a heads up - you are going to encounter a lot more hate when you dig further into social media. There are a lot of pseudo-truths out there or people who appear to profess that they can ‘help’ you by changing your sexual orientation.

But I encourage you to choose wisely what you want to see. There are many people who are willing and able to accept you for who you are. For every negative comment you read, you can find an affirming one somewhere else. Keep looking for them.

At the end of the day, it is how you choose to see yourself that truly matters. Choose courage. Choose compassion. Choose love.

I know a few people who are very affected by the HCI news, and I can imagine more out there who might be anxious and depressed thinking about what has happened. I hope you find healing soon.

I hope by sharing this little piece of me, you will feel a little more hopeful and normal.

I am okay. And you are okay too."

Martin Piper[]

MartinPiper002.jpg

Straight ally Martin Piper sent the following letter to the Ministry of Education:

"This harmful religious themed video was shown in Hwa Chong school, in Singapore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BQcUBSmw_o

It was shown as part of a presentation that made repeated false claims and attacks against LGBT people, those claims came from this known racist nazi supporting Twitter account. This demonstrates the material is false and not factual at all, it is hate speech: https://twitter.com/nat_sock/status/1533231556059287552?s=20&t=vi4hZGcflauAytwI9Hjgeg

This video is produced in Singapore by a Singapore church called "3:16". The video shows someone using religious themes describing their attempts to deny and suppress their sexual orientation. The context of the Twitter sourced hate image and the video demonstrate a consistent attempt to attack LGBT people with falsehoods. The content is disgusting, it is horribly discriminatory, it is also dangerous as it incites and provokes violence. Firstly no secular MoE school should be showing religious themed videos to children as part of "sex ed" talks. Secondly those claims of change are known as "conversion therapy" and are known to cause mental abuse trauma and suicides.

Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades: https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy

Since that material was shown in school to children it caused harm to those children and risk of suicide to those children: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/lgb-suicide-ct-press-release/

Since your job is to protect children from harm, please order internet providers to block content to all of the content produced by 3:16 church which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/c/trueloveis

Also please order all schools to stop use of that kind of religious content in secular schools."

Gay teacher writing for RICE media[]

On 18 July 2022, an article (initially written on 17 October 2019) was published on RICE media by a gay teacher of 25 years named Viv Loh. It questioned the preparedness of Singapore's teachers to teach sex education[12]. She reported that the sex ed curriculum excluded possible questions about the LGBTQ+ community. It assumed that teens did not face sexual confusion at that age, although her exchanges with these students revealed the contrary.

For every batch of students in a 2-year cycle, there would be one or two asking about or sharing their inner struggles with their sexuality, either with disapproval or shame. So much so that she had become the vessel for where gay angst was unloaded, even for students she did not teach. They told her that it was because she seemed “chill” and did not judge. She could not help but feel sorry for these children who carried the burden of their secret shame while dealing with their school syllabus' implication that they simply did not exist.

She recalled how during a lecture session on sex ed with a panel, a question on homosexuality was written on paper during the Q&A portion. A speaker promptly mentioned the legalese of Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalised sex between men, dismissing any further exchange on the matter. The teacher wondered how these students, with their private struggles, felt at the time and whether they were doing enough to help them. Was the teacher’s role simply to dispense information or to guide students in making better choices? Or was sex ed just another three hours of the syllabus they needed to fulfil without following up?

As it was, teachers themselves hesitated when asked in school because discussing homosexuality already caused worry about violating some Ministry of Education by-laws. So at most, it was implied as a psychological problem for the school counsellor. Other teachers and principals even declared it wrong or illegal. Personally, he had only managed to speak to students about it, not in his capacity as a teacher, but as an actual adult, sometimes online after school hours. Being out to them as queer also eased their trust and comfort level with the subject matter.

Counsellor allegedly to be suspended[]


On the morning of Monday, 18 July 2022, HCI principal Pang Choon How, with both vice principals in attendance, addressed the Secondary 4 cohort on the incident. Via a recording of his address, Pang was heard to have acknowledged students' concerns about the presentation and told them the school counsellor’s views were personal and not representative of the school’s position. He said: “We appreciate and emphasise respect and empathy for all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status.” A Sec. 4 student remarked that while the presentation's content was inappropriate, the school community was generally inclusive, including towards people from the LGBTQ community[13][14]. A HCI spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident which took place during a presentation on sexuality where a staff member incorporated content outside the scope of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Sexuality Education curriculum into his slides. The views presented were the individual staff's personal perspectives and not representative of the position of the school or MOE. We take a serious view of this incident and have met up with our students to address their concerns. To ensure that such incidents are not repeated, we will also review our processes." It was also reported in the press that the counsellor had been reprimanded and suspended from delivering such lessons.

No meaningful action taken[]

HCI was reported to have eventually confirmed that they would retain the staff member[15]. The counsellor himself was allegedly not present during the assembly and therefore did not offer any apology for his conduct. No meaningful action appeared to have been taken by the school and it would still retain him as a counsellor. The only limitation was that he would be barred from conducting future sex education talks.

Many questions from the public were left unanswered, including the vetting process for the slides, why the staff member was allowed to finish the presentation, why action against the counsellor was only taken the following Monday after the report of the incident went viral online, and whether the individual should have been given a harsher punishment.

Reaction of LGBT community[]

Pink Dot[]

On Monday, 18 July 2022, Pink Dot published a statement on Facebook in response to the incident [16]:

"Pink Dot is aware that Hwa Chong institution (HCI) has suspended a staff member from delivering sexuality education lessons after he made a presentation with fabricated statistics and misinformation about the LGBTQ community that are harmful and aimed at instilling fear and shame. Beyond the staff’s suspension, we would like to know how the school will be preventing the recurrence of such an incident.

Students deserve access to science-based sexuality education that is free from personal beliefs and biases. Counsellors and teaching staff have a professional and ethical responsibility to help our most vulnerable youth, not perpetuate further harms to their mental health. To chalk this up to the actions of one rogue counsellor ignores systemic issues of inadequate sexuality education and the fact that schools in Singapore have repeatedly evaded accountability on matters of sexuality.

Further, the bullying of LGBTQ students is well-documented by NGOS. In 2019, Nominated Member of Parliament Walter Theseira expressed concern that "teachers and staff sometimes inadvertently reinforce the bullying by requiring youths to conform to stereotypes, or by disclosing their stigmatised identity to their peers." He asked if they received training to handle cases involving LGBTQ issues sensitively.

Answering the question, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Low Yen Ling said that teachers and counsellors are given "very extensive training" to handle bullying targeting gender identity or sexual orientation.

The HCI incident shows us that this is clearly not the case. MOE’s lack of standards and guidelines means implementation of life-saving intervention is not only sorely lacking, but it means that teachers and school administration who are themselves inclined to discriminate have free reign to do so, becoming part of the problem. It is important to ask what safeguards are in place to prevent similar incidents from recurring and to ensure that counsellors and teachers do not perpetuate misinformation and fear-mongering against the LGBTQ community.

At this time, we are concerned for the well-being of all LGBTQ students, especially those who were exposed to the presentation at HCI. If the counsellor was brazen enough to deliver such a speech before hundreds of students, we fear what might have been said to LGBTQ students behind closed doors in private counselling sessions. We encourage all who require mental health support to approach LGBTQ-affirming community resources including Oogachaga, Young OUT Here and TransBefrienders."

Humanist Society[]

On 18 July 2022, the Humanist Society published on its website, a "MEDIA STATEMENT ON SEXUALITY EDUCATION AT HCI"[17]:

"The Humanist Society (Singapore) refers to news that a Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) staff member who gave a presentation on sexuality containing discriminatory content to students (“Hwa Chong reprimands staff member, suspends him from sexuality education over anti-LGBTQ content”, 18 July 2022, Straits Times).

Separately, we read that a video by truelove.is was aired at the end of the presentation.

Truelove.is is an evangelical organization serving the Christian community. On their website (https://truelove.is/about/ ), it describes itself as “a ministry of 3:16 Church that provides stories and resources for Christians who want to know more about LGBTQ issues.”

We affirm that there is freedom of religion in Singapore, and we understand that many Christians have a religious duty to proselytize.

Nonetheless, it is inappropriate that such a video is shown in a national school such as HCI to an audience coming from all backgrounds, including those who are not religious. Unlike adults, students in a school setting do not always have the choice to opt out of such sessions.

Besides, HCI is a secular institution and not a religious establishment.

We urge the Ministry of Education, and all public schools under MOE, to ensure that sexuality education in school, including those conducted by external vendors, has content that is suitable for all races and religions, including the non-religious.

Christian organizations and Christian individuals have the religious freedom to conduct Christian and Christianity-inspired sexuality education within the Christian community, which is well endowed with strong community funding supporting many institutions. There is no need for Christians to carry out evangelism in national schools, whether openly or covertly.

External vendors should also be vetted to ensure there are no vested interests to promote the interests of one community over another.

Regards,

Executive Committee

Humanist Society (Singapore)"

Anthea Ong[]

See also: Anthea Ong: LGBT allyship
AntheaOng001.jpg

On Monday, 18 July 2022, former NMP and straight ally Anthea Ong posted the following message on Facebook[18]:

"Anthea Ong is beyond incensed and saddened by the HCI incident on so many levels.

1. This confirms again the more than a few accounts from young respondents to SG Mental Health Matters'[19] first public consultation which shaped her Budget 2020 Budget/COS speeches. That their mental health was made worse by them seeing their student counsellors as a result of their personal biases on such issues. We also had accounts of adults facing similar discrimination by registered professionals such as psychologists. World Health Organization (WHO) specifically warned about the risk of “double stigma” is their mental health directive re LGBTQ+ community. Why we pushed for more safeguards for therapy and counselling. https://antheaindiraong.medium.com/double-stigma-of-mental-health-lgbtq-1ece7362f000

2. Her fellow NMP Walter Theseira also asked about the training of school counsellors on supporting students who are bullied for their sexual orientation. The assurance was crystal clear that “teachers, school counselors are trained to manage LGBTQ bullying sensitively” but this latest case is akin to bullying and gaslighting but by an adult!! https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/school-teachers-counsellors-trained-manage-lgbt-bullying-858631

3. It pains her that the very person whose job is hold a safe space for our young ones and to protect them from harm is doing just the opposite of that, and the harm caused is an “air raid” of sorts in a school assembly talk! 4. How could a para-educator be so overcome by their own biases that they would choose to believe such ridiculous statistics and spread such fake news? It’s also fear-mongering. #POFMA

PS: She ‘came out’ about her intestinal worm situation as a little girl in the “Deafen” chapter of 50 Shades of Love. She didn’t become ‘gay’ but she sure was ‘gay’ with joy to be rid of them as the TCM treatment to deworm actually made her lose her hearing for more than a while. But because of these worms, she was drawn to the Deaf and Hush TeaBar was born many decades later. Moral: intestinal worms might actually make you a better human!

5. What worries her most is how many more of such “talks” are being made in schools and other youth communities? She sure hopes we handle this incident in a way that would have nipped it at the bud if there was indeed an insidious organised effort on such “sexuality education”. Please be brave enough to be honest about your own beliefs and biases, then engage in honest and honourable conversations to fight for your beliefs but first listen to others’. If you don’t listen to others’, how can you make a good convincing case of yours? #debate101 #negotiation101

Anyone trained in counselling and coaching will also know that listening is the most holy duty we must show up with."

Prout[]

On 18 July 2022, Prout posted a series of slides on Facebook with the following statements[20]:

"ON THE “SEXUALITY EDUCATION” TAUGHT AT HCI

Prout is highly disappointed by the misinformation the counsellor incorporated into his sexuality education slides taught to teenagers. Counsellors are meant to help people who require mental health support, instead of cause more harm. A counsellor’s priority should be the welfare of students, instead of bringing in his own biased perception of the LGBTQ+ community without any fact checking when teaching by sexuality education. This goes against the ethics of counseling professionals of doing no harm to clients.

The slides containing the so-called “facts” were shown to teenagers, especially those who may be queer or questioning. Many teenagers at that age are still coming to terms about their own identity and sexuality, and this may cause those students to further retreat into their closet or self-harm. It may also serve to embolden some who may bully others based on their sexuality or gender identity.

We have had former HCI students from the school reach out to share that this is not the first time such an incident has happened. Unfortunately, such incidents are extremely common in many Singapore schools, especially with a lack of comprehensive sexuality education on consent and protection being taught in Singapore schools —the topics instead focus on only abstinence.

We are also aware of variations of conversion therapy that some Singapore school counsellors prescribe to. Schools need to have clear guidelines to make a stand against discrimination, especially if the perpetrators themselves hold any position of power.

Schools have a responsibility in providing a secular, discrimination-free and safe environment for students to learn, and also a safe space for them to grow into their best selves. There are many LGBTQ+ community groups such as Prout, Oogachaga, Young Out Here, Sayoni and Transbefrienders providing mental health support and resources for the LGBTQ+ community, and we hope LGBTQ+ youths who require support will reach out to these groups."

LGBT activists[]

Leow Yangfa, executive director of Oogachaga, a non-profit that worked with the LGBTQ community, said that there had been other instances where people spread misinformation to young people in schools “often under the guise of sexuality education that includes content that is drawn from religious sources, rather than evidence-based research”[21]. He noted that upon investigating the data source for the infographic used by the counsellor in this latest case, they were “either unavailable, blocked or from made up spoof sites”. He also drew attention to the fact that this was not the school’s first brush with discriminatory messaging during sexuality education classes. In 2014, staff members from Focus on the Family spread sexist and misogynistic language during a relationship module at the school. Leow said: “Anecdotally, we hear from students in other schools here that inappropriate and sometimes offensive language is used to describe the LGBTQ community, and it is often difficult for students to determine if what is being shared by their teachers and counsellors is evidence-based fact or just personal opinions. The damage has been done through the offensive stereotyping of LGBTQ people as diseased, immoral, criminal, violent and promiscuous. These are clearly the opinions of the presenter and not backed by scientific evidence.”

Cally Cheung, director of Prout, an online resource site that helps to connect LGBTQ people, said: “A counsellor’s priority should be the welfare of students, instead of bringing in his own biased perception of the LGBTQ community without any fact-checking. Many teenagers at that age are still coming to terms about their own identity and sexuality, and this may cause those students to further retreat into their closet or self-harm... (while) emboldening some (students to) bully others based on their sexuality or gender identity.” Similar to the other activist groups, Cheung added that LGBTQ youth may reach out to community groups such as Prout for mental health support and resources.

Benjamin Xue, co-founder of LGBTQ youth support organisation Young Out Here, remarked that such incidents of counsellors doing harm were not new. For example, school counsellors had, in some instances, exposed students’ sexual orientation and gender identity to their parents and teachers. “LGBTQ+ students, who at those ages should be supported and affirmed for who they are, find it tough to seek help about their mental health issues through their proper channels such as school counsellors,” he said, adding that such false narratives provided excuses for parents to take their LGBTQ children to undergo sexuality and gender identity conversion or management, which could exacerbate the children’s sense of shame and low self-esteem. “This incident is just a sign that a larger change needs to happen for the safety of LGBTQ+ students in schools... more can be done to ensure that this incident is the exception, not the norm, for LGBTQ students everywhere in Singapore.” Among his suggestions on what could be done to better safeguard students, Xue proposed having anti-discrimination and anti-bullying guidelines to protect them and ensuring that school counsellors wre trained. Furthermore, content presented to students should be vetted and guided by ethical guidelines set by the Singapore Association for Counselling.

Kiss 92's radio presenter Joshua Simon said that he responded to the news with ambivalence[22]. “A part of me was surprised, but a part of me also wasn’t. This, unfortunately, has been a recurring response for me when incidents like these happen. Looking back at the TEDx opportunity three years ago, I was prepared to share a real, honest, positive account as a queer person – one which included my coming out story, how my family was learning to embrace me, my journey of unlearning my shame to unlock my pride. Unfortunately such themes were deemed ‘too sensitive’ for the audience.” In 2019, Simon was invited to give a talk at a TEDxYouth event but was asked to edit LGBTQ+ portions of his speech. He later withdrew and went on to start The SG Boys, a podcast focusing on LGBTQ+ issues. “The SG Boys is designed to be a safe space for people like us to serve our community through important conversations. To see such an insensitive and more importantly, inaccurate, presentation as the one given this week at a school assembly years later, is disheartening and very disappointing,” he lamented.

Veteran LGBTQ+ activist Dr. Roy Tan did not think the staff member’s attitude was representative of Singaporeans’ view of the LGBT community[23]. “The recent Ipsos survey showed that a majority are supportive of decriminalisation of gay sex, especially with the younger generation. Moreover, most people are more concerned with bread and butter issues like runaway inflation and job security than what two people of the same gender do in the privacy of their bedrooms,” he pointed out. Tan was part of an court challenge in 2019 to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalised gay acts between men. The statute was upheld but the courts declared it as “unenforceable” in 2022. “It, therefore, must be officially reiterated time and again that Singapore is a secular society and that religious precepts must not influence public policy since our nation is a multicultural and multireligious one,” he added, referring to the truelove.is ex-gay video that was screened at the end of the HCI presentation.

AWARE[]

On Tuesday, 19 July 2022, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) posted the following response on its Facebook page[24]:

"Like many, we were appalled at the homophobic and unscientific presentation made recently by a staff member of Hwa Chong Institution in the guise of sexuality education. This incident shines a light on the failings of the sexuality education system in Singapore, an arena that has long needed reform and greater transparency.

The presentation claimed links between homosexuality and pedophilia, sexual violence, STDs, alcoholism and more. These claims are demonstrably false: A perfunctory check shows that a number of them, e.g. that “23% of children with lesbian parents have been sexually abused”, are bad-faith conclusions from studies with dubious scientific merit, later amplified by anti-gay right-wing American news sources. In addition, the derisive headings (“What are LGBT so proud of?”) in the presentation slides convey an actively hostile homophobic tone. The presenter allegedly ended the talk with a video from True Love Is, a church-affiliated organisation that, à la conversion therapy, encourages LGBTQ individuals to suppress their sexual identities and embrace heteronormativity.

The harm done to students (of all genders and sexual orientations, but particularly LGBTQ students) by such a presentation is considerable. Many LGBTQ people in Singapore are ostracised, bullied and subject to other kinds of violence on the basis of their gender expression and sexual orientation. Experiencing belittlement and invalidation at the hands of an authority figure in school would be psychologically and emotionally damaging for anyone, much less a vulnerable teen.

We note that the HCI staff member was reprimanded and suspended from teaching future sex-ed classes, in what may be the first time a Singapore school has publicly declared disciplinary action against an incident of homophobic bigotry. We are glad that HCI is also planning a review of its processes relating to the teaching of sexuality education, though clarification would be appreciated on exactly which processes these are. Furthermore, there has been anecdotal evidence of poor sexuality education at other schools. Last year, AWARE conducted a community discussion with 17 students who had undergone sexuality education at various institutions in Singapore. One discussion participant recounted how a teacher at his school had likened homosexuality to bestiality (a popular right-wing talking point that confuses sex with violence). Another participant who had sought help after being bullied for his gender expression received a dismissive response from his teacher. According to MOE, teachers in Singapore schools must receive special training and meet specific criteria before they are selected to teach sexuality education—yet little public information is available about this process. What other harmful inaccuracies are being disseminated in educational contexts, and how many other vulnerable youths are being denied essential support? We hope MOE uses this opportunity to establish how widespread this behaviour is.

HCI’s statement on Monday seemed to stress that the staff member’s failure lay in incorporating “content outside the scope of the Ministry of Education's Sexuality Education curriculum”—a curriculum that MOE describes as “holistic and secular”. While we believe that MOE has recently updated its syllabus to acknowledge diverse sexual orientations and genders, we wonder if even this official syllabus goes far enough to support LGBTQ persons. A truly affirming and inclusive curriculum would explicitly teach students to interrogate the discrimination that LGBTQ persons face in society, and articulate ways to counter that discrimination, e.g. by debunking homophobic myths. We call yet again for Singapore schools to provide, as per UNESCO guidelines, comprehensive sexuality education: scientifically sound, non-judgmental education that embodies inclusive principles and proactively challenges misinformation, homophobia and transphobia."

Rebuttal of absurd statements in talk[]

Several LGBT groups and individual activists performed the relevant research and checked the references for the absurd statements made on the slides during the talk to refute their preposterous claims.

Pink Dot[]

On 22 July 2022, Pink Dot uploaded a series of slides on Facebook to debunk ten myths about the LGBT community in Singapore and included the following references[25]:

  • Children with same-sex parents outperform others in school:[26]
  • Researchers reveal patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings:[27]
  • The Greenhouse Drug Use Prevention Campaign:[28]
  • Common Reasons for Divorce in Singapore:[29]
  • The Effectiveness of a Pro-Abstinence Sex Education Curriculum in Singapore:[30]
  • Singapore's total fertility rate falls to historic low in 2020:[31]
  • Media Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals on Dutch Television and People’s Stereotypes and Attitudes About LGBs:[32]
  • The Bissu: Study of a Third Gender in Indonesia:[33]

PinkDot10Falsehoods01.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods02.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods03.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods04.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods05.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods06.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods07.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods08.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods09.jpg PinkDot10Falsehoods10.jpg

Editable text of slides[]

FACT CHECK: 10 FALSEHOODS ON LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN SINGAPORE

MYTH 1: Singapore’s “traditional nuclear families” will be destabilised if Section 377a is repealed and LGBTQ people are no longer criminals.

FACT: “Traditional nuclear families” will remain stable and married couples will remain married. Spouses in heterosexual marriages will not suddenly divorce unless they were already planning to.

MYTH 2: Children from same-sex families are abused.

FACT: Majority of research on the topic of same-sex families have found that same-sex parents are able to provide their children equally healthy and nurturing home environments. According to a 2021 University of Melbourne study in 2021, same-sex parents face substantial barriers to parenthood such as social scrutiny, greater costs of conceiving a child and legislative hurdles, and overcoming these barriers actually strengthens their commitment to parental roles. Same-sex couples also do not become parents through accidental pregnancies, resulting in more positive parenting practices in same-sex parented families.

MYTH 3: Most LGBTQ people are pedophiles.

FACT: There is no evidence that LGBTQ people are any more likely than heterosexuals to molest children. Unfortunately, sexual abuse occurs in all communities, even in conservative or religious ones.

MYTH 4: There is rampant drug use in the LGBTQ community.

FACT: Drug use and addiction can occur in any community, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. One source of the misinformation is research bias. Studies of drug use in any community would recruit samples of drug users from target population, leading to over representation. While there is no evidence that the LGBTQ community uses more drugs, research conducted by addiction recovery centre The Greenhouse, clearly showed that gay men in Singapore who experienced stigma, discrimination and bullying because of their sexual orientation were more likely to use drugs.

MYTH 5: LGBTQ people will ruin the “sanctity” of heterosexual marriages if LGBTQ relationships are recognised.

FACT: Adultery is one of the most common reasons4of ruining the “sanctity” of marriages, yet adultery is not criminalised in Singapore.

MYTH 6: A conservative and pro-abstinence sex education is effective in stopping young people frombecoming queer, and is also the best way to keep STIs/STDs at bay.

FACT: Singapore’s sex education is ineffective in reducing the rates of STD/STIs transmissions, which has been on a rise since 1999. Teaching about consent and contraception is key to helping all youths making informed decisions about their sexual health. Proabstinence sex education will also not stop LGBTQ youths from being queer.

MYTH 7: Singapore’s fertility rate will increase (1.12 in 2021) as long as homosexuality is criminalized or rainbow families don’t exists.

FACT: Giving birth to children is a personal choice^ and LGBTQ folks are not the cause of straight folks not reproducing. Rainbow families may even increase Singapore’s dwindling fertility rate.

MYTH 8: Neutral or positive portrayal of LGBTQ people on Singapore’s Free-To-Air (FTA) TV will result in young people “turning gay”, due to the "glamorising” of the ”gay lifestyle".

FACT: The current only-negative portrayal of LGBTQ people on FTA TV will only continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes of queer people in Singapore. Neutral or positive portrayal can help to shape cultural attitudes and educate people that different types of people exist in our society.

MYTH 9: LGBTQ people are a threat to religions or religious freedom.

FACT: Religious folks will always be able to continue practicing their faith. Religion has never taught people to discriminate against others. Let’s not forget that LGBTQ identities and religion are not mutually exclusive - many LGBTQ folks are people of faith too. Check out community groups such as Free Community Church, The Healing Circle and Quasa about the work they do with LGBTQ folks who are also religious!

MYTH 10: LGBTQ people are a new western phenomenon, and Singapore should not “import the culture wars of Western countries” such as gender identity to ’’divide the society”.

FACT: Gender-fluid, gender neutral, and people who identify outside the usual gender categories have always existed in Asian cultures. From the Bissu and Waria people in Indonesia, as well as the Hijras in South Asian countries, we have always existed in this part of the world!

Paul Jerusalem[]

On 23 July 2022, LGBT activist Paul Jerusalem, then 28 years of age and using the nom de plume of Pauriah Caery, uploaded the following series of slides to refute the allegations in the Hwa Chong sex ed talk[34].

PaulJerusalemFactCheck01.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck02.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck03.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck04.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck05.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck06.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck07.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck08.png PaulJerusalemFactCheck09.png

Citation list[]

Jerusalem thanked user pingmr on the Singapore subreddit for having done much of the research[35] which he built on to make the above shareable carousel post to combat the misinformation that heterosexist conservatives frequently loved citing. He noted that some of their sources and figures could not even be found outside the same old conservative websites of dubious quality that concerned themselves more with spreading misinformation than creating even a sheen of credibility. Jerusalem cited the following references in his research[36]:

Citation List: Fact-checking Hwa Chong counsellor’s anti-LGBTQ+ slides (Part 1)

By @pauriahcarey

Adapted from: https://www.reddit.com/r/singapore/comments/w1ycym/fact_checking_the_shitty_slides_from_the_hc_talk/

(Note: all links are clickable and will bring you either to an external source or the PDF file containing the journal article.)

Slide 1: Intestinal worms

Wikipedia contributors. (2022, June 15). Edward Reed Fields. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:51, July 22, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Reed_Fields&oldid=1093182462

Fields, E. R. (n.d.). “Is Homosexual Activity Normal?” Truth Tract No. 6. The Truth At Last, from https://www.infotextmanuscripts.org/djetc/homo_not_normal.pdf.

Profile of Edward Fields, Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine from Anti-Defamation League

Slide 1.5: Intestinal worms alternative source

Keystone, J. S., Keystone, D. L., & Proctor, E. M. (1980). Intestinal parasitic infections in homosexual men: prevalence, symptoms and factors in transmission. Canadian Medical Association journal, 123(6), 512–514. (link to PDF[37])

Slide 2: Pedophile

Cameron, P., Proctor, K., Coburn, W., Forde, N., Larson, H., & Cameron, K. (1986). Child Molestation and Homosexuality. Psychological Reports, 58(1), 327–337. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1986.58.1.327 (link to PDF[38])

George, M. (2016). The Custody Crucible: The Development of Scientific Authority About Gay and Lesbian Parents. Law and History Review, 34(2), 487-529. doi:10.1017/S0738248016000018 (link to PDF[39])

Wikipedia contributors. (2022, July 15). Paul Cameron. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:14, July 22, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paul_Cameron&oldid=1098270759

Slide 3: Alcoholism

Badash, D. (2014, April 29). RNC official who calls gays 'filthy' continues his lie-filled assault on LGBT people. The New Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2014/04/rnc_official_who_calls_gays_filthy_continues_his_lie_filled_assault_on_lgbt_people/

Elliston, J. (2004, February 18). Tony Dale's phony tales. Mountain Xpress. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://mountainx.com/opinion/0218elliston-php/

Kaifetz, J. (n.d.). Jerry Kaifetz. Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://jerrykaifetz.com/jerry-kaifetz

Statistics. Homosexuality in the U.S. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://homosexualityintheus.weebly.com/statistics.html

Slide 3.5: Alcoholism / substance use, alternative source

Tan, R. K. J., O’Hara, C. A., Koh, W. L., Le, D., Tan, A., Tyler, A., Tan, C., Kwok, C., Banerjee, S., & Wong, M. L. (2021). Social capital and chemsex initiation in young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men: the pink carpet Y cohort study. In Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy (Vol. 16, Issue 1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13011-021-00353-2 (link to PDF[40])

Slide 4.5: Sexual partners per lifetime

Corey, L., & Holmes, K. K. (1980). Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis A in Homosexual Men. In New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 302, Issue 8, pp. 435–438). Massachusetts Medical Society. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejm198002213020804 (link to PDF[41])

Slide 5: Correlation between childhood rape and homosexual behaviour

Tomeo, M. E., Templer, D. I., Anderson, S., & Kotler, D. (2001). Comparative data of childhood and adolescence molestation in heterosexual and homosexual persons. Archives of sexual behavior, 30(5), 535–541. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1010243318426 (link to PDF[42])

Post by user pingmr on Singapore subreddit, 18 July 2022[]

Fact Checking the Shitty Slides from the HC talk[43]

In part due to boredom, but also in hopes of showing our LGBT members that they probably do not have intestinal worms, I decided to fact check all the claims made in the HC talk. Special thanks to u/shimmynywimminy[44] for providing better resolutions of the slides. I also copy (with thanks) some other posters acknowledged below.

Summary

  • The slides are largely inaccurate. Either because the sources cited are not reliable, are very old, are not academic sources, or an unholy mixture of all of the above.
  • There are however some points which are not wholly inaccurate. That said even here, other relevant factors tend to be ignored. E.g. saying LGBT are more prone to alcohol abuse, without saying that they are more driven to substance abuse due to the discrimination they face. I mean after looking at the slides in detail, I think I can say that the HC counsellor's talk really made me want to have some alcohol.
  • Some issue are however reflective of areas of concern for the LGBT. Of course this doesn't meant that being LGBT is bad because they have these issues - in the same way that because certain ethnic groups have specific issues they deal with.

1) 58% of Homosexuals have intestinal worms

The given source is "Fields, Dr. E. "Is Homosexual Activity Normal" Marietta, GA. Google brings up this document - https://www.infotextmanuscripts.org/djetc/homo_not_normal.pdf, which looks a lot more like a propaganda pamphlet rather than an academic study. The claim that homosexuals have intestinal worms is just asserted without any evidence on the study done to obtain such numbers ("Depending on the city some 39% to 59% have been infected with intestinal parasites such as worms".

As an added bonus "Fields, Dr. E." is not a medical doctor. He is a chiropractor. He is also a white supremacist - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Reed_Fields

I did however find academic research from 1980 showing that homosexual men have an infection rate of 67.5% compared to 16% for straight men. Given how old this research is, I don't think you can rely too much on this. Some posters have also pointed out that the research method of this paper is flawed due to sampling bias.

However even this paper says "Among the homosexual men recent foreign travel, living in a homosexual household and promiscuity were not correlated with intestinal parasitic infection, but cleansing of the anus before and sex was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of infection".

In other words having intestinal worms has nothing much to do with being gay or sleeping around. Rather it has everything to do with washing your bum. PSA - wash you bum.

2) 1 in 15 Homosexuals is a pedophile

This comes from "Psychological reports 1986 58 pp. 327-37" (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1986.58.1.327). What the relevant part of the abstract actually says is this - "Considering only children's claims of sex with men, about a third were homosexual molestations".

I will admit that I didn't read the full paper and only saw the abstract, but the problems are immediate - this is a study about victims of child molestation. How do you derive demographic trends on all homosexuals being pedophiles? The study is also old (1986). Just to highlight some great comments from u/TaliyahTt - you can molest a child of your same gender without being homosexual.

3) 33% of homosexuals struggle with alcoholism

The source comes from "Kaifetz. J. "Homosexual Rights are a Concern for Some" Post-Tribune, 18 December 1992. Well the first and most obvious point is that "Post-Tribune" sounds very much like a newspaper rather than an academic publication. Unfortunately I cannot find a copy of the article online. This guy does seem to be citied very frequently by anti-LGBT articles so it's a bit surprising that the actual article is so hard to come by.

Unfortunately, I do want to point out that there is a generally observed trend that LGBT communities may abuse alcohol more than straight communities (see e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/20/gay-men-hiv-homophobia-lgbt-drink-drugs). Of course one of the major reasons is that LGBT people are pushed to alcohol as a way of coping with all the anti-LGBT stuff they have to put up with. So please reach out to any LGBT persons you might know that are dealing with these issues.

4) On average a gay man has up to 80 sexual partners a year

The source for this is "Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A in homosexual men : incidence and mechanism" (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6243391/). This was a study on Hep A transmission and not sexual partner habits among homosexual men. While the full text is not available, the abstract says " We performed monthly examinations and serologic tests for antibody to hepatitis virus A (anti-HA) in a study of 57 heterosexual men and 102 homosexual men followed prospectively for a mean of 8.9 months and 6.1 months, respectively... Diaries concerning sexual behavior kept by homosexual men showed that the acquisition of hepatitis A virus infection contact.".

I'm going to guess that somewhere in this study, the 102 homosexual men indicate in their dairies that they had sex with 80 sexual partners in that year, and that figure is being used in the HC slides. Of course would be a bogus conclusion since these findings are incidental to the main research being conducted (Hep A transmission).

The study is also really old - 1980. A more recent study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3334840/) that is directly on point suggests that gay men are more likely to have around 3-4 in a year (depending on age) and 15-67 in a life time (also depending on age). So, not 1000 in a life time, but 67.

5) Perfect Correlation between Childhood Rape and Homosexual Behavior. 47% of gays admit to having been raped by an adult man during their childhood

Maybe because I'm not a counsellor, but just on the wording of this I have absolutely no idea what is being said. If there is a "perfect" correlation then we should expected either (a) all childhood rape victims are homosexual; or (b) all homosexuals were raped as children. Both seem absolutely unlikely.

Anyway the source is https://www.gwern.net/docs/sociology/2001-tomeo.pdf. The study asked respondents whether they have been molested as children. The results are - straight men and women (24.4% and 24.6%) versus gay men and lesbian women (49% and 52%, or specifically molestation by same gender 45% and 29%). What's interesting is that the study directly states that "Most men who molest boys and most men who molest girls are heterosexual in their adult sexual preference (Groth and Birnbaum, 1978) " and " It must also be borne in mind that the present homosexual participants may not be representative of homosexual persons. "

So the best I can say about this is (a) LGBT people being molested as children is a terrible thing; (b) however this does not mean that LGBT are more likely to molest children; (c) in fact if you are molested as a child and the molester is a man, then that man is likely to be straight; and (d) this study is not reflective of LGBT people generally.

6) Homosexuals are 2% of population but 33% of Pedophile Rapists

The source is https://archive.ph/sX8zg. The 33% figure apparently comes from the Jounal of Sex & Married Therapy ("1/3 of male sex offenders directed their sexual activity against males") and "Journal of Sex Research ("homosexual pedophiles commit about 1/3 of total sex offences against children*).* Unfortunately there are zero detailed citations to these sources.

In general this statistic seems to not account for the fact that heterosexual men can commit sex offences against boys (see 2) above.

I'm sure it will shock no one that the writer of the source is neither a doctor or an academic. He's a conservative radio host from the American Family Association which (surprise!) has been designated as a hate group. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Fischer. This guy also thinks that the holocaust was caused by homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

7) 78% of Homosexuals have STDs

At this point I'm starting to wonder why I tried to unravel all these lies and getting a headache. So I hope you don't mind I duck out and just cite u/nutting_ham who dealt with this in his post:

Thanks to u/shimmynywimminy I found the actual source. It's worse. It's a book written by Enrique Rueda published in 1982/1986, who doesn't appear to be an academic. That's right folks it's not even a study, it's in fact actually a 680 pages book from a raging homophobe, which according to this amazon review, had a lot of things to say. For the sake of brevity, the writer suggests that, homosexuals are sinful, that his CATHOLIC CHURCH would be under fire for him speaking the truth. The cherry on the frothing cake -- he suggests that the gay agenda is out to establish a female controlled homosexual society where MALES would be fuckin' LIQUIDATED by abortion and the few remaining males would be used as spermatozoa sources for future implantation. (No really I swear I'm not making this shit up. Also funny how it sounds like the Great Replacement Theory doesn't it?!) Anyway because it's not a study, I was not able to access the testing methodology behind this 78% statistic from a catholic guy who has some talent for writing some crazy dystopian shit, and clearly, not an academic in any way.

8) 23% of children with lesbian parents have been sexually abused

The source is https://archive.ph/5UPbM. This a lifesitenews article citing a study by Mark Regnerus who is described as a sociology professor at the university of Texas. I'm not a sociology professor, so I'll just note that this study has attracted so much controversy that it has an entire wikipedia page detailing why other academics have criticized the findings of Regnerus - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Family_Structures_Study.

For what it's worth here's what wiki also adds - Major academic organizations including the American Sociological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association dispute the validity of Regnerus's data and conclusions reached thereof, arguing that unlike previous studies, the statistically tiny number of same sex couples in a study whose sample group largely consisted of failed heterosexual marriages where one of the parents was allegedly homosexual, make it impossible to extrapolate any information about same sex parenting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Regnerus

For this one my personal take is that I don't have the time or energy to dive into such a contested academic area, so if any dear reader wants to take up this issue, please go ahead.

u/oOoRaoOo adds"

I'll bite on the NFSS (new family structures study) by Mark Regnerus.

i think i went off-topic haha. In short the answer is maybe at best w/regards to the sexual abuse statement. Kids in lesbian families comes from all sorts of situation and may/may not be abused by their lesbian parents/partners due to the way they are grouped together. Which i believe the statement is insinuating.

NFSS due to poor response rate from same-sex families, he grouped up data when he should not have, and compared with nicely diced groups from the heterosexual side, basically made the two groups incomparable.

Definition of same-sex family = if your mom and/or dad had EVER had a same-sex relationship from when you were born to till your 18 or moved out, you are in the same-sex group (lesbian mothers [LM] or gay fathers [GF]). Doesn't matter if that relationship is long distanced (hence no contact with child), doesn't matter if it lasted for a second. If yes is the answer, congratulations, you are in!

Response of same-sex group is so low (same sex marriage was illegal then, so duh?) that they just lumped everything (intact families, adoptive, etc) together. Note: only 23% of LM and 2% GF children lived with their respective same sex partners for 3 years or more. Ie. 23% of 163 (38) for LM and 2% of 73 (2) for GF. Even worst, there are only 2 LMs that can even be considered equivalent to a intact biological family.

On the other hand, we have nicely carved out heterosexual families into intact biological families, adoptive, step, single groups etc.

Turns out, the result of the same-sex group is inferior to intact biological families (birth parents). Gee, I wonder why.

Lets not take into account that the LM and GFs do not have official recognition in the 90s, which these kids would be living in. They are, at best, roommates and only 1 adult in this same sex relationship (if there are even 2 parents!) has legal ties to the child.

Oh i also didn't mention that this study was funded by the conservative think tank and is sped up for the purpose of having this study having an impact in various court cases regarding same sex marriage, which it is NOT intended to be as stated by the AUTHOR.

Other source (not used as I did not read thoroughly, though it is more recent)

P.S. Please do not judge the BTB source by its cover (the last post is a trollish post), they are pretty good with their reports, which you will see on the right. I recommend this report or the cnn video version, which reports on one of the subjects (?) in the study that helped pushed conversion therapy in the States. Spoiler about the researcher.

9) Homosexuals represent 2% of pop but 67% of AIDS Patients

The source is https://archive.ph/scA5b - the data appears to be from the CDC, which reported that "however in 2013, MSM accounted for 67% of all new HIV diagnoses". The primary source from the CDC does appear to check out, and also maps current trends recorded by the CDC, as well as in Singapore.

There's nothing much to say there other than maybe the slide is inaccurate to lump all LGBT under "homosexuals" when this is clearly a gay man issue.

Still wear your condoms, and practice safe sex.

u/fioccinauci adds:

For 9), I additionally would like to point out that AIDS is not a moral failing (it’s a medical condition!) and I reckon that why society at large stigmatises it is, cyclically, largely due to its association with gay men (cf. how it was reported in the “HIV epidemic” of the 80s in the US). Also want to point out that there are many data points for HIV/AIDS that one could cherrypick — including that, globally, women have been found to be disproportionally affected by HIV both due to biological and sociological factors!! It’s quite maddening that whoever did this series of “facts” about the LGBT community cherrypicked the data specifically in a way that further demonises the community. Not only is this intellectually dishonest, it further perpetuates stigma of an already marginalised group of people AND of a condition that has afflicted millions — regardless of gender or sexual orientation — over the decades :(

10) 51% of domestic violence occur in same sex couples

The source is from Newsweek 4 October 1993. Unfortunately I cannot find the main article. That said I found a BBC article covering the issue in 2014 - https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29994648, that I can just briefly quote to address this point:

But the conclusions of another study this year by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago - a review of data from four earlier studies, involving 30,000 participants - go further.

"One of our startling findings was that rates of domestic violence among same-sex couples is pretty consistently higher than for opposite sex couples," says Richard Carroll, a psychologist and co-author of the report.

Intrigued by their findings, Carroll's team started to look into the reasons why this might be.

"We found evidence that supports the minority stress model - the idea that being part of a minority creates additional stress," he says.

"There are external stressors, like discrimination and violence against gays, and there are internal stressors, such as internalised negative attitudes about homosexuality."

The external stresses on a same-sex relationship include what Carroll describes as the "double closet phenomenon" when victims are reluctant to report abuse because they do not want to be outed to the authorities.

But it is the internal stress, says Carroll, which can be particularly damaging.

"Sometimes homosexual individuals project their negative beliefs and feelings about themselves on to their partner," he says.

"Conversely, we believe that victims of domestic violence in same-sex couples believe, at some level, they deserve the violence because of internalised negative beliefs about themselves."

TransBefrienders[]

On 24 July 2022, TransBefrienders uploaded the following series of slides to Facebook, with the comment that the Canva characters did not deserve to be used in a presentation like that:[45]

TransBefriendersFactCheck01.png TransBefriendersFactCheck02.png TransBefriendersFactCheck03.png TransBefriendersFactCheck04.png TransBefriendersFactCheck05.png TransBefriendersFactCheck06.png TransBefriendersFactCheck07.png

Editable text of slides[]

"What are LGBT so proud of?"

ACTUAL FACTS FROM PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH

(And yes, we'll be using the same Canva graphics.)

More people regret getting LASIK surgery.

99% of post-op trans people do not regret gender-affirming surgeries.(3) About 96% of patients are satisfied with LASIK.(4) Average regret rate across all surgical procedures is around 14.4%.(5)

Talking about gays in sex-ed reduces HIV risks.

LGBT youth who received inclusive and gay-sensitive HIV prevention education in school showed they engaged in less risky sexual behaviour than similar youth who did not receive such instruction.(6)

We make great parents

Children from same-sex families scored ~6% higher on general health and family cohesion,(1) and are 6.7 percent more likely to graduate from high school.(2)

Pronouns and support networks are life-saving.

Trans youth who have their pronouns respected by everyone around them attempted suicide at half the rate of those who don't.(7) Family and friend support reduces suicide ideation by 66% and suicide attempts by 76% among trans people.(8)

Lastly...

100% of these Canva characters are pissed at you for holding them hostage in your presentation and spreading blatant homophobia!

References

  • 1) Crouch, S.R., Waters, E„ McNair, R. et al. (2014) Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 14, 635. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-635
  • 2) Mazrekaj, D., De Witte, K., & Cabus, S. (2020). School Outcomes of Children Raised by Same-Sex Parents: Evidence from Administrative Panel Data. American Sociological Review, 85(5), 830-856. https://doi.org/10.1177/000312242Q957249
  • 3) Bustos, V. P., Bustos, S. S., Mascaro, A., Del Corral, G., Forte, A. J., Ciudad, P., Kim, E. A., Langstein, H. N., & Manrique, O. J. (2021). Regret after Gender-affirmation Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 9(3), e3477. https://doi.org/10.1097/GOX.00000000000Q3477
  • 4) Solomon, K. D., Fernandez de Castro, L. E., Sandoval, H. P., Biber, J. M., Groat, B., Neff, K. D., Ying, M. S., French, J. W., Donnenfeld, E. D., Lindstrom, R. L., & Joint LASIK Study Task Force (2009). LASIK world literature review: quality of life and patient satisfaction. Ophthalmology, 116(4), 691-701. https://doi.Org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.12.037
  • 5) Wilson, A., Ronnekleiv-Kelly, S.M. & Pawlik, T.M. (2017). Regret in Surgical Decision Making: A Systematic Review of Patient and Physician Perspectives. World Journal of Surgery, 41,1454-1465. https://doi.org/10.1007/sQ0268-017-3895-9
  • 6) Blake, S. M„ Ledsky, R., Lehman, T., Goodenow, C., Sawyer, R., & Hack, T. (2001). Preventing sexual risk behaviors among gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents: the benefits of gay-sensitive HIV instruction in schools. American Journal of Public Health, 91(6), 940-946. https://doi.Org/10.2105/ajph.91.6.940
  • 7) The Trevor Project. (2021). 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. West Hollywood, California: The Trevor Project, https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2021
  • 8) Bauer, G.R., Scheim, A.I., Pyne, J. et al. (2015). Intervenable factors associated with suicide risk in transgender persons: a respondent driven sampling study in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health, 15,525. https://doi.org/10.1186/sl2889-015-1867-2
  • 9) Badgett, M. V. L., Waaldijk, K., & Rodgers, Y. van der M. (2019). The relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development: Macro-level evidence. World Development, 190,1-14. https://doi.Org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.03.011

MOE's reply to Parliamentary question on sexuality education[]

On 1 August 2022, the Ministry of Education published the following response to Opposition MP He Ting Ru's (Sengkang GRC) questions on whether there were steps in place to ensure that sexual health and sexuality education in schools[46]:

  • addressed public concerns about the subject matter
  • were based on the best available science and evidence
  • had clear guidelines about educators sharing their personal and religious views and how these were presented, and
  • were conducted in ways that were non-discriminatory, avoided stigmatisation, and sought to reduce harm.

"1. MOE reviews its Sexuality Education curriculum regularly, guided by research, specialist expertise and stakeholder feedback.

2. As matters relating to sexuality are sensitive and need careful handling, Sexuality Education teachers are specially nominated by their school leaders to be trained by MOE. Like all educators, Sexuality Education teachers have to exercise professionalism and not impose their personal views and beliefs on their students, or advance the interest of any advocacy, political or religious group in school.

3. The MOE Sexuality Education is secular in nature, taught in the context of values that reflect Singapore's mainstream society, and focuses on equipping students with age-appropriate knowledge and skills. Students are taught to treat everyone with respect and empathy. Sexuality Education teachers also guide students to understand, evaluate and respect multiple perspectives, without discrimination or stigmatisation.

4. Our schools are committed to provide a caring, respectful and enabling environment for all students through fostering empathy and building positive relationships."

Counsellor suspended from all duties[]

On Tuesday, 2 August 2022, Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa raised the following questions in Parliament for the Minister for Education regarding the staff at Hwa Chong Institution who had delivered the discriminatory content:

  • What are the duties he is retaining?
  • What safeguards are in place to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.[47].

MP Xie Yao Quan (Jurong GRC) also posed the following questions:

  • When does the Ministry expect to conclude investigations into the incident?
  • Is the Ministry is aware of any student who has been personally affected by the statements and has come forward to seek help?

In a written reply, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing stated:

"1. Following the incident, the school counsellor, who is an employee of Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), has been suspended from all duties, pending further investigation by the school personnel board.

2. Parents and students have been given the assurance that the views expressed by the counsellor do not reflect that of the school. The school has also emphasised the importance of respect and care for everyone in the school community.

3. The school has been watching out for students who may be affected by this incident. Teachers have been vigilant in monitoring their students' well-being, and students who have concerns or require support have been encouraged to approach the School Leaders or a trusted adult in school.

4. The school is reviewing its processes to ensure alignment with MOE's curriculum and guidelines."

Straits Times op-ed by Anthea Ong and Rayner Tan[]

On Wednesday, 3 August 2022, Anthea Ong, a former Nominated Member of Parliament and Dr. Rayner Tan penned the following op-ed in The Straits Times in response to the HCI anti-LGBT sex ed debacle.

Scan of article[]

AntheaOngRaynerTanST220803.jpg


Editable text of article[]

Why more needs to be done to help LGBTQ youth

Studies show they are at greater risk of poorer mental well-being and suicides

Anthea Ong and Rayner Tan

For The Straits Times

News broke recently about a Hwa Chong Institution (HCl) counsellor who presented anti-LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) content to students and was subsequently reprimanded and suspended from sexuality educational the school.

HCl said the staff member had “incorporated content outside the scope of the Ministry of Education’s sexuality education curriculum into his slides”.

While this may have been true, is this the only cause for concern in this incident?

More could have been said or done to recognise the harm that such anti-LGBTQ content can do to students who may identify as being LGBTQ, or are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation.

Such content may also perpetuate and/or encourage discrimination and bullying.

The HCl incident presents an opportunity to discuss, as a society aspiring to be inclusive, why vulnerable groups like LGBTQ youth need targeted interventions within the broader framework to address mental well-being in Singapore.

SUICIDE AND MENTAL HEALTH RISKS

How and why are LGBTQ youth considered a “vulnerable” group in the context of suicide?

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health polled 34,000 LGBTQ youth in the United States and found that about 50 per cent of LGBTQ teens (aged 13 to 17) surveyed seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

About 18 per cent had attempted suicide in the past year, which is about twice the rate of suicide attempts among all American teens. These findings are not just a "Western" phenomenon.

Studies in China. South Korea and among university students in Asean have also found that LGBTQ youth were more likely to report depression and suicide-related behaviours as compared with their non-LGBTQ peers.

Indeed, suicide is a highly complex issue with multiple contributing factors, but research has shown that LGBTQ youth are more susceptible than the general population to suicide, which can in turn be attributable to stressors associated with their sexual identities.

A recent study among 469 LGB young adults published by the National University of Singapore Social Senice Research Centre found that past experiences of discrimination, microaggressions, internalised homophobia (that is, negative attitudes towards oneself due to one's sexual orientation) and rejection anticipation were associated with higher levels of psychological distress.

Another recent stud)’ among 570 sexual minority' men aged 18 to 25 by researchers from the NL’S Saw' Swee Hock School of Public Health found that 59percent reported contemplating suicide, whereas 14 percent had attempted suicide.

Those who reported higher levels of experienced homophobia were more vulnerable.

LGBTQ community groups such as Sayoni and Oogachaga have also led important research in this area.

Deaths by suicide in Singapore may have recorded a decrease last year. It is also not known how many among them were of youth who identify as LGBTQ, but the fact remains that the increase in the proportion and absolute number of deaths by suicide among youth is a growing and disturbing trend, one that merits greater preventive action.

In the #AreWeOkay public consultation among 561 participants conducted by SG Mental Health Matters last year, about 74 per cent of respondents agreed that LGBTQ individuals are at greater mental health risk, and that they should be given additional support.

PREVENTION AND POLICIES

What then can be done? Studies have found that supportive environments such as more family support and feeling a sense of belonging in school are helpful.

In the light of the HCl incident, sexuality education in schools, including on LGBTQ-related topics, should be reviewed and updated to ensure the students’ self-development and self-identity are achieved.

As stated by then Education Minister Ong Ye Kung in response to a parliamentary question in 2020: “Sexuality education in our schools focuses on imparting knowledge and social and emotional skills for positive self-development and self-identity, and developing healthy and rewarding relationships."

There should be appropriate and competent support readily available for youth and their parents.

A whole-of-government approach is needed to ensure that mental healthcare personnel across all sectors, including school counsellors and teachers, are trained and competent in LGBTQ-related vulnerabilities.

One way is by engaging LGBT community groups such as Oogachaga and The T Project, which supports the transgender community, as professional training vendors to conduct capacity building and sensitivity training for those working with LGBTQ youth.

Diversity officers supporting minorities is a common practice in the business sector.

By having them within respective agencies, across healthcare, education and social service sectors, they can serve as a resource for professionals to better understand LGBTQ-related issues, help to develop competencies in serving LGBTQ individuals and ensure dissemination of LGBTQ-specific resources.

Given our whole-of-society mental health effort with the recent launch of SG Mental Well-being Network, public funding programmes should include initiatives to address LGBTQ youth mental health and well-being in Singapore.

The recent budget debate brought up the potential formation of a permanent mental well-being agency and hopefully, the agency will be placed under the Prime Minister’s Office as a whole-of-govemment priority, which was one of the 2021 #AreWeOkay recommendations.

Such a dedicated national coordinating body will ensure that targeted strategies, such as those suggested above, are implemented for vulnerable groups across the population, including the LGBTQ community.

Mental health is not merely a health issue. How we treat one another contributes a large part to our mental well-being as individuals, especially and most significantly in our formative years. There cannot be an honest and complete conversation on youth mental well-being without addressing LGBTQ stigma and discrimination.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam put it best when he said: “LGBTQ persons, non-LGBTQ persons, we are all equal. We are not any lesser by reason of our sexual preferences."

We should all do our part to make sure that our children, family, friendsand colleagues who identify’ as LGBTQ are not made to feel less in the diverse and inclusive society’ that we want to become.

• Anthea Ong is a former Nominated

Member of Parliament, social entrepreneur, leadership/hfe coach and author of 50 Shades Of Love. She is also a mental health advocate and founder of SG Mental Health Matters. Hush TeaBar and WorkWell Leaders.

• Rayner Tan is vice-president of the Society of Behavioural Health Singapore, visiting research fellow at NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, lead author of the #AreWeOkay report and co-lead of SG Mental Health Matters.

HELPLINES

  • National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (Sam to 8pm)
  • IMH Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444/1-767(24 hours)
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928
  • Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788. www.tinklefriend.sg
  • Community Health Assessment Team: 6493-6500/1, www chatmentalhealth.sg
  • TOUCH line (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
  • TOUCH Care Line (for seniors, caregivers): 6804-6555
  • Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

(Photo caption: Suicide is a highly complex issue with multiple contributing factors, but research has shown that lesbian, gay. bisexual, transgender and queer youth are more susceptible than the general population to suicide, which can be attributable to stressors associated with their sexual identities, say the writers. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG)

See also[]

References[]

Acknowledgements[]

This article was written by Roy Tan.

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