LGBT rights in Singapore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
LGBT rights in Singapore Singapore
Singapore
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Male illegal (rarely enforced)
Female legal
Penalty:
Up to 2 years
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender
Military service Homosexual men subject to conscription, but restricted to limited duties
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No formal recognition

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Singapore may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal, though the law is generally not enforced.

Legislation from October 2007[edit]

After the exhaustive Penal Code review in 2007, oral and anal sex were legalised for heterosexuals and female homosexuals only. The changes meant that oral and anal sex between consenting heterosexual and female homosexual adults were no longer offences but section 377A, which dealt with gross indecency between consenting men, remained in force. Kumaralingam Amirthalingam a Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore has argued that it may not apply to anal sex between males.[1]

In his concluding speech on the debate over the repeal of Section 377A[2], Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told MPs before the vote that "Singapore is basically a conservative society...The family is the basic building block of this society. And by family in Singapore we mean one man, one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit."

Section 377A of the Penal Code[edit]

Section 377A ("Outrages on decency") states that:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

Section 354 of the Penal Code (Outrage of Modesty)[edit]

Section 354 provides that if any person uses criminal force on any person intending to outrage, or knowing it would be likely to outrage, the modesty of that person, he shall be imprisoned for a maximum of 2 years, or with fine, or with caning, or with any 2 of such punishments.

Section 354 requires that the police or someone be touched. However, if no physical contact is made, homosexual behaviour can also be charged under Section 294A (see below).

Section 294A of the Penal Code (Obscene Act)[edit]

If the victim of an entrapment operation uses a symbolic gesture to signal intention to have sexual activity with the police decoy, he can be tried under section 294A of the Penal Code, which covers the commission of any obscene act in any public place to the annoyance of others (subject to a maximum of 3 months' jail, a fine, or both). From 1990 to 1994, there were 6 cases of obscene acts brought before the courts in this context. The accused were fined between $200–$800.

Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act[edit]

The police can use section 19 (soliciting in a public place) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, which covers both prostitution and soliciting "for any other immoral purpose". This offence carries a fine of up to $1,000, doubling on a subsequent conviction, including a jail term not exceeding 6 months.

According to documentation by National University of Singapore sociologist Laurence Leong Wai Teng[3], from 1990–94, there were 11 cases where gay men were charged for soliciting. They were fined between $200–$500. However, a Lawnet search revealed no reported cases of persons being charged under section 19. This does not mean, however that no persons were charged. They could have pleaded guilty and avoided trial, resulting in the absence of case law.

Government[edit]

Civil Service[edit]

Prior to 2003, homosexuals were barred from being employed in "sensitive positions" within the Singapore Civil Service.[4]

Category 302[edit]

The most widely known and infamous classification is Category 302, a medical code given to personnel who are "homosexuals, transvestites, paedophiles, etc." Category 302 (popularly referred to as "cat 302") homosexuals are further classified into those "with effeminate behaviour" and those "without effeminate behaviour".

Management[edit]

Self-declared or discovered servicemen are referred to the Psychological Medicine Branch of the Headquarters of Medical Services for a thorough psychiatric assessment, which involves their parents being called in for an interview.

They are medically downgraded to a Physical Employment Status of C (PES C), regardless of their level of fitness, and put through modified Basic Military Training. On graduation, they are deployed in a vocation which has no security risks, posted to non-sensitive units and given a security status which restricts their access to classified documents.

Formerly, Category 302 personnel were not allowed to stay overnight in-camp, nor were they required to perform night duties, but these restrictions have been relaxed. Effeminate homosexuals are also posted to a holding list upon completion of National Service and not required to do reservist training, whilst non-effeminate ones have to undergo it in non-sensitive units.

Category 30-B[edit]

A less well known classification is Category 30-B, a medical code given to servicemen "with effeminate behaviour not amounting to sexual disorders". These individuals are further subdivided into "mildly effeminate", "effeminate" and "severely effeminate".

Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports[edit]

In January 2006 the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) granted S$100,000 (US$61,500) to Liberty League, an organisation affiliated with the ex-gay movement which "promotes gender and sexual health for the individual, family and society".[5]

Living conditions[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes for female/No for male
Equal age of consent Yes for female/No for male
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Yes/No
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Notations[edit]