Petitions put spotlight on Health Promotion Board’s FAQ on sexuality

Michelle Kwara
Petitions put spotlight on Health Promotion Board’s FAQ on sexuality. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) published a FAQ about sexuality on its website last November. However, the FAQ has gone viral in recent days, making the rounds on Facebook after an individual posted a petition against the FAQ and subsequently sparking a counter-petition.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) published a FAQ about sexuality on its website last November, addressing questions such as “What does it mean to be gay/bisexual?” and “Where can my child find support in Singapore?”

However, the FAQ has gone viral in recent days, making the rounds on Facebook after an individual posted a petition against the FAQ and subsequently sparking a counter-petition.

A individual named “Aaron” started it all when he put up an online petition on 3 February to have the FAQ reviewed.

The petition asserts that the FAQ provides “unverifiable, pro-homosexuality, one-sided answers to the questions they post”. It also urges Health Minister Gan Kim Yong to conduct a thorough review of the HPB website’s information “as it dangerously promotes homosexuality”. The petition has since garnered over 1,200 signatures.

Pastor Lawrence Khong from Faith Community Baptist Church was quoted as saying in a report by My Paper that the tone of the FAQ "gives the impression that HPB condones same-sex relationships and promotes the homosexual practice as something normal".

A counter-petition in response to Aaron‘s petition was set up by a Melissa Tsang on 4 February.

Her petition recommends that the health minister “ignore the ridiculously misinformed and regretfully bigoted petition”. The petition urges HPB to also “restore the original version of the ‘FAQ on Sexuality’. “

The original sexuality FAQ had contained links to various lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) organizations and counseling hotlines such as Oogachaga, SAFE and AFA Singapore, in an answer to “Where can my child find support in Singapore?”. These links have since been removed.

Tsang’s petition has received over 450 signatures so far. She has also put up a Facebook post linking to her petition. Her Facebook post has received over 30 shares.

One user said, “I was disappointed to find out that under pressure from conservative groups, the government removed the links to these [psychological and counseling] services.”  Another Facebook user who had shared the petition, Zengkun Feng said, “It's only a petition but at least it's a way to show HPB its original stand is appreciated.”

The FAQ has received positive responses from activists in the LGBT community. LGBT movement Pink Dot shared the FAQ on its Facebook page, calling it “wonderfully factual and balanced information on sexuality”. Others have also praised the FAQ by posting on the HPB Facebook page. Facebook user Cyrus Ho said, “Well done on the FAQ on sexuality! It provides a balanced, unbiased and healthy view on heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.”

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