“I was walking out of the school one day towards the bus stop, when this guy screamed at me, ‘Hey faggot!'”
Homophobia can, and does, exist in every aspect of our lives. When someone asks you, a woman, and your girlfriend the question, “Who is the ‘man’ in your relationship?” that is homophobia. It is also ignorant and offensive. Homophobia is when a young man is called names and groped in school after he comes out as bisexual.
Homophobia is when a recruit doing his National Service is bullied and attacked because of his effeminate mannerisms.
“Things got even worse one night when I was asleep in the bunk after a hard day’s training. I suddenly awoke and found that someone had clambered on top of me, and was pinning me down with his body. I was absolutely terrified. I screamed because I didn’t know what he was going to do next. To make things worse, everybody else in the bunk just laughed.”
Homophobia is also when you’re afraid to tell your doctor or make a police report after you’ve been physically and psychologically abused by your same-sex partner. This is homophobia that’s been internalised, and it reeks of shame and disgust at oneself.
“The family doctor knew about all my injuries, but I said they were caused by a violent brother. I said I just wanted him to know what was going on, but didn’t want to take things any further. He respected my wishes, and did what was necessary to treat my wounds. I saw him when I fell from the escalator and hurt my nose, when I had the cuts on my face from the rollerblades, and again when I was stabbed in the chest by the knife.“
Homophobia is when your family does not accept or even understand that the object of your love and affection happens to be someone of the same gender.
Homophobia is present in the wider Singapore society too. In a survey conducted recently by Oogachaga, 60.2% of the respondents indicated they have had experiences with sexual orientation and/or gender identity-based abuse and discrimination. Transgender females have the highest incidence rate (94.4%), followed by males (62.5%).
“Anal-penetrative sex is inherently damaging to the body and a misuse of organs, like shoving a straw up your nose to drink. The anus is designed to expel waste; when something is forcibly inserted into it, the muscles contract and cause tearing; fecal waste, viruses carried by sperm and blood thus congregate, with adverse health implications like ‘gay bowel syndrome’, anal cancer.”
Homophobia is when a religious leader calls upon the government to continue to criminalise and institutionalise discrimination against a minority group based on their sexual orientation, and views any attempts to achieve equality as a threat to society.
“We affirm that the family unit comprises a man as Father, a woman as Mother, and Children. This is the basic building block of society, a value foundational for a secure future, a premise fundamental to nation-building. We see a looming threat to this basic building block by homosexual activists seeking to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.”
Homophobia is when a senior counsel from the Attorney-General’s Chambers frames a constitutional challenge for equality as an “incrementalist homosexual agenda”. Homophobia is when a prime minister adopts the cowardly status quo, and pronounces that because a piece of discriminatory anti-gay legislation has always been there, he thinks we should just leave it.
The BBC offers some practical advice on how to deal with homophobia, reminding us that “Being picked on for your sexuality can be upsetting and embarrassing but remember you’re not the problem, they are.”
Homophobia is rendered obsolete when we call it out for what it is. Homophobic people become powerless when we identify them for who they are and what they represent; when we challenge their homophobic views as unacceptable, with reason and logic; when we dispel their fear-mongering with our personal life experiences; when we fight for equality before the law.