Friday, 22 May 2015

[Straits Times] All sides must be ready for opposing views

I AGREE with Ms Nur Diyanah Kamarudin that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community should not be discriminated against or bullied ("Building an open, safe, inclusive college community"; Tuesday).
One can only imagine the kinds of struggle these people go through. Bullying is definitely undesirable behaviour.
Still, there will always be some people who disagree with the messages that certain LGBT groups are pushing, for example, asking for the repeal of the controversial law that criminalises sex between men.
Would the public voicing of disagreement against such views be considered an act of "bullying"?
According to an Our Singapore Conversation survey, there was about the same proportion of people in the 20 to 34 age group (35 per cent each) both accepting and not accepting gay lifestyles ("More remain socially conservative"; Aug 26, 2013).
There were more people against the idea of gay marriage in the same age group.
As student groups work towards creating an open, safe and inclusive college community through education and support for the LGBT community, they, too, must be prepared to face criticism, challenges and debate on the ideals they wish to express.
It has been observed that members of the LGBT community, both local and abroad, commonly dismiss their opponents as bigots and haters, thus effectively shutting down communication and dialogue.
Student groups like Yale-NUS College's The G Spot should take the viewpoints of their opponents into consideration and recognise the reasons behind their objections, hence, practising inclusivity and true mutual respect.
Lim Choong Pin