Singapore’s gay sex law has officially been repealed, but is it time to review sex ed in schools?

Singapore’s Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sex between men, has officially been struck off the law books and discussions on how the education system can move forward with it have arisen.

President Halimah Yacob’s sign of approval dated Dec. 27 last year to “delete” the law was published yesterday online on the Government Gazette page, months after an intense (but entertaining) debate saw a majority vote for the repeal of the law.

Another bill to amend Singapore’s constitution to protect the definition of marriage from legal challenges was also passed and is now in force.

Image: Government Gazette
Image: Government Gazette

While the long tedious journey to repeal the law has come to an end, several issues were brought up in Parliament calling on the government to review the education curriculum as the bill moves forward.

Nominated MP Tan Yia Swam urged sex education to be based on science which would create more conversations at home and educate children about the terms and spectrums of LGBT like the definitions of asexual or transgender.

Other MPs also brought in questions about sex education in all schools including private, religious and international schools.

Sex ed is included in the school’s curriculum but was only refreshed in 2021 with vague teachings on human sexuality and respecting boundaries among others for 13 to 17-year-olds.

In an overview on the Ministry of Education’s website, the curriculum states that it teaches students “what homosexuality is and the importance of mutual understanding, respect and empathy for everyone.”

A student told The Straits Times that the curriculum focuses on abstinence instead and there was no mention of LGBT topics.

A substantial amount of commenters on Facebook disagree with the broad inclusion of LGBT teachings as it might “backfire” and would promote its beliefs instead. They should stop at the basics and fundamentals, said some.

“On sexuality education, don’t teach beyond what the students can comfortably absorb and what is comfortable with his/her family and their religions. No radical agenda please!” Chua Lee Kheng wrote.

Other stories you should check out:

‘I’ve got gay friends, but…’: Key takeaways from parliament’s debate on repealing 377A and definition of marriage

The lengthy session in Parliament on Monday, Nov. 28 had two agendas: to debate the bill repealing Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, and another… Read more.

The future of Singapore’s gay sex law: Will we see its end?

Lawyer weighs in on long-running battle over law and love. Read more.