By Ravi Philemon
I am a committed follower of Christ and being one, I personally believe in the covenant relationship of a man with a woman. I would like my daughter to be married to a man, and my son to a woman eventually.
Why? because I want them to have children of their own. I think children are awesome and I can’t wait to pamper my own grandchildren. The other reason is because I hate for us to be the last Philemons.
I remember the time when my daughter was a pre-teen. I took her aside and talked to her about sex, and about how to protect herself. My daughter went like, “Ewww! Daddy, why are you telling me all this!” I told her that it was because I loved her and wished that she was always safe.
My son went through the same ritual a few years later as well.
I do understand that not all parents can have such candid conversations with their children. Which is why I appreciate the Health Promotion Board’s FAQ on sexuality.
I am sure that almost no parent would wish that their child would be in a relationship where they would not be able to naturally procreate. Neither do I.
But the fact is despite the wishes of parents and in spite of the pressures from quarters who demand more acceptable social norms, some people do get attracted to people of their own sex.
It may already be that much difficult for such people to come out and talk openly about their sexuality, because they fear being ostracised by their family, friends and others in the community. For the thousands who celebrate their sexuality at the Pink Dot event, there are thousands more who remain in shame and hiding.
And without being able to talk, these may not be able to access information about how they can better protect themselves. Or may get inappropriate advise from friends which may not only be unhelpful, but also dangerous. I know. Once upon a time I was also a teenager.
That’s another reason why I appreciate HPB’s sexuality FAQ. This FAQ means people of all sexual orientation can have access to appropriate information on safe sex and have it quietly without anyone knowing.
Some people oppose HPB’s FAQ because they feel that it contradicts Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men. Even some of my friends prefer to retain this law because they fear that unless homosexuality is criminalised, it will influence their children away from forming heterosexual relationships.
But so far, none of these friends have been able to convince me how having a repressive law like S377A supports their children to have heterosexual relationships.
I remember when I was a small boy and when I did something wrong, my mother would threaten me, “Don’t do that ah! Wait the policeman will come and catch you!” But I soon learnt that the policeman’s not coming to catch me. S377A to me is like that – an empty threat. How much of a deterrent is that? I am not sure.
But even if it is not a deterrent, it does not give peace of mind to a group of men who are sexually oriented a certain way, and also, it increases the anxiety of the parents of these men – that their sons may be committing a criminal act and so can be prosecuted.
Yes, I too believe that the family should remain the basic building block of our society – why, is family not the basic building block of any society? But if family is an atom, then happiness must surely be the nucleus of that atom. Happiness and the pursuit of happiness must be at the core of every family.
Regardless of the kind of life I wished my children had, I know that eventually they will make their choice as to who they would want to live with. And above the fact that I may not approve of who they may eventually choose to spend the rest of their lives with, is the fact that I want them to be happy – whatever or whoever they choose.