Pink Dot is a family event

Pink Dot is a fam­ily event

I am hon­oured to have been invited to speak at this year’s Pink Dot as part of a new seg­ment called “Com­mu­nity Voices”. This is what I said:

When I was in sec­ondary school I was among the for­tu­nate few to have friends who were gay. Some of whom I knew were gay before they knew or cared to admit.

My father was the most con­cerned, of course, and told me he was wor­ried that I would get affected or influ­enced — in his own words, “you spend so much time with him, you become a gay then you know”.

I said, “Pa, look at me, I can’t dress to save my life. I wish I could be influenced”.

Then came National Ser­vice, the 2 and a half years that was meant to make men out of boys. Inter­est­ingly, it was also where I learned how brave my gay army mates were, and how they stood the tallest among the fight­ing men in my com­bat unit.

Not only did they endure the phys­i­cal duress of train­ing, they took the insults — being called Chow Ah Kua, Bapok, Fag­got — any deroga­tory term for a gay man, daily. It was only after my unit became oper­a­tional that the tables turned somewhat.

The best GPMG gun­ner was gay. 2 of my company’s best pla­toon sergeants were gay, and the guy that broke another soldier’s leg dur­ing unarmed com­bat was one of those Chow Ah Kuas.

These NS boys were tor­tured and I can­not begin to imag­ine the tor­ment they must have endured, hav­ing to hide and deny who they were.

Things are ever so slightly bet­ter these days. There’s this civic event right here that cel­e­brates and affirms the right to love, regard­less of ori­en­ta­tion, even if some peo­ple don’t, and even if there is an unjust and uncon­sti­tu­tional piece of leg­is­la­tion that doesn’t.

My hope is that it doesn’t stop here. And I will sup­port this cel­e­bra­tion and affir­ma­tion until it becomes a right under the laws of this oth­er­wise dynamic country.

I say this because my fam­ily and I count our­selves the luck­i­est peo­ple. It’s not because we prob­a­bly have more gay friends than straight ones. But it’s because many of our gay friends have shown us the abil­ity to sus­tain love above all man­ner of obsta­cles, objec­tion, ridicule.

And more impor­tantly, they love my wife, my son and myself for who we are.

We are with­out doubt blessed by their friend­ship, and our fam­ily can­not do with­out their love.

I am glad that we are rais­ing our son amongst friends who share the same fam­ily val­ues. That two peo­ple can love each other regard­less of gen­der, gen­der iden­tity or labelling.

If this is the “gay lifestyle”, then my fam­ily and I will whole­heart­edly pro­mote it.

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