So I went to the AWARE EGM, I voted, I bought the Shut-up and sit down t-shirt, and just when I thought life was going to get back to normal, this nonsense shows up in my inbox:
For Singaporeans who’ve not received this (all two of you), it’s an email urging parents to sign a petition pushing the government to suspend AWARE’s Comprehensive Sexuality Programme. The Ministry of Education has caved in to the demand. And so it seems the battle’s not over. And for what it’s worth, I feel compelled to say something.
Growing up, one of my best friends was gay. Still is. We used to hang out all the time, angst over, oh the usual things teenagers like to angst about. Homework, and relationships, and what we wanted to be when we grew up.
We had a blast talking about fashion and shoes, makeup and boys. He even picked out my dress for the Senior Prom. He was the bestest best friend a girl could ever want. He came to my house often, and my parents welcomed him warmly. They never once judged, never once told me to stay away from him. My mother even commented once that she’d much rather a gay son or daughter than one who was unkind, cruel or self-centred. I didn’t think much of it then, but now, now, I realize my parents truly rocked.
Because if they had expressed those views today, they would likely be lynched by the baying crowd going hysterical over AWARE’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme.
It sickens me, the name calling, the bigotry, the assertion that a neutral stance is a pro-gay stance, and therefore WRONG WRONG WRONG. Kids are not the innocent lambs these so-called conservative parents think they are. Plenty of people were having sex, even back in the day when I was in Junior College. Gay boys and girls knew their sexual orientation way before they had to discuss gay politics in a GP class. To pretend otherwise would be plain stupid. Blaming AWARE for somehow sneaking a gay agenda into our schools is even dumber. What’s there to sneak or not sneak? If an informed adult isn’t allowed to address homosexuality in a class meant to educate kids about sexuality, then where on earth should the kids turn to for information? The internet? Pornographic magazines? Their friends?
This very public witchhunt and chest-thumping reeks of bigotry. Worse, it was triggered not by a thorough inspection of the CSE notes distributed to students, but by a spam email highlighting choice segments lifted from the INSTRUCTOR’s manual. There isn’t even proof the kids received the same information.
And what of the so-called inappropriate instructions? Telling instructors to stay neutral, to stick to the facts, to be inclusive, is apparently the surest way to lead our innocent children down a pathway to hell. Sex is pleasurable. Anal sex is a personal choice. Homosexuals should not be discriminated against. Wow. Explosive stuff – at least according to the 6,000 people who signed the petition pushing for the suspension of CSE. 6,000 people. How many read the manual in its entirety?
My parents never once discriminated against my gay friend, and made clear to me that they thought discrimination was wrong. They were more than neutral. Their tolerance, by today’s standards, would make them pro-gay (whatever that means), which makes them kinda too liberal and too subversive for conservative Singapore. Geez, they might as well be crack-smoking baby killers, the way this witchhunt is panning out.
The funny thing is (and I am sure this will come as a shock to the legions of anxious folk who believe a neutral stance on lesbianism will create a whole new GENERATION OF LESBIANS), I am not gay. And neither is my younger brother. We’re both happy heterosexual people in happy heterosexual relationships. My gay best friend is still gay, of course. And I’m proud to say, he still receives a warm welcome whenever he visits my parents’ house.