Gay man launches Singapore campaign for workplace discrimination protection

A former Robinsons employee seeking constitutional protection against workplace discrimination of homosexual men has launched a campaign to create awareness about the issue and raise funds for legal costs.

Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San, together with seven other people, launched the campaign “Stop hurting, quit labeling” on Friday evening at the home of film and theatre director Glenn Goei. About 50 people turned up at the event to show their support, including local actors Lim Yu Beng and Neo Swee Lin, and former Singapore Democratic Party member Vincent Wijeysingha.

In his application filed with the High Court in August, Wee is seeking a declaration that protection against discrimination under Article 12 of the Constitution should include within its ambit all Singaporeans regardless of race, religion, place of origin, gender and sexual orientation.

Wee said in an interview at the launch that the campaign was meant to create awareness within the larger community on the lack of protection for homosexuals when it came to workplace discrimination.

“We are here to honour this very important constitutional challenge to respect equality and non-discrimination in employment for gay men, lesbians, basically the LGBT community in Singapore. A constitutional challenge of this magnitude is public interest litigation because it affects a significant section of the population in Singapore. So this is not restricted to Lawrence Wee,” said human rights lawyer M Ravi at the event. Ravi is also involved in a separate constitutional challenge of section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises sex between men.

The campaign is aiming to raise a total of S$30,000, said Wee, who had filed a civil suit against his former employer in December 2012 for allegedly harassing him and forcing him to resign because of his homosexuality. The suit was dismissed on contractual grounds.

An account on crowd funding site Indiegogo where people can go to donate to the campaign has been set up.

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