The HPB FAQ Controversy: The Conservatives March
The dust has settled and what can be seen is actually healthy debate on healthy sex. A to and fro of arguments. HPB was doing its job, educating youth and parents about how to handle sexuality and sex. Naturally, a paradoxical word to use, sexuality is a social construct if we think about it. The conservatives have their world view, and the LGBT community have their own. In terms of national policy and contests, it was confined to 377A, and curriculum in schools. Now, even health messages are turned controversial.
MP Lim Biow Chuan took a stand for the conservatives, labelled as homophobes. A petition by Aaron to HPB to review and remove content in the HPB FAQ that condoned homosexuality. This petition was the flag to rally the conservatives, including FCBC pastor Lawrence Khong, the vocal champion of “family” values and pro-377A, assuming that the petition was not by the pastor or his supporters in the first place given his penchant for ambushing the regime to get off the live and let live fence and take a side.
PERGAS, the Islamic teachers and scholars association, have sided with the pro-377A camp with its statement questioning the insensitivity of the HPB FAQ towards the majority of Singapore, citing an IPS survey that Singaporeans are mostly conservative about sexuality. PERGAS’ stand is unsurprising as it is recently becoming more assertive about Muslim rights, like its statement on asking for wider acceptance of the tudung. The religious conservatives are marching, and they are providing leadership. Looks like the silent secular conservatives might follow suit and they might even have a similar response to pinkdot soon.
The LGBT camp is not going to take it lying down, deepening the healthy debate on healthy sexuality. That the conservatives are raising their voices is testimony that the LGBT camp have been successful in their lobbby for gay rights besides recognition.