The term “reverse discrimination” has been coming up in the news following the announcement that Section 377A would be repealed. 

Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, referred to it in his interview with local media

Church leaders also raised this as one of the possible repercussions.

Responding to the Government’s decision, the National Council of Churches of Singapore said in its statement that there could be an intensification of the celebration of LGBT culture, especially at workplaces that support LGBT activism. 

“Christian individuals in such situations will face an even greater amount of pressure (as compared to the situation where S377A is retained) to support or participate in the LGBTQ+ activism, or risk facing ‘reverse discrimination’.”

Similarly, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore also cautioned against this in its statement.

“We must not allow reverse discrimination to take place against those who believe in marriage as defined between a man and a woman.”

Speaking to young adults to hear their views post-repeal, some shared with that they are already experiencing pressures in school because of the views they hold. 

Concerned about the proposed changes, undergraduates emphasised the need for campuses to remain as safe places where everyone has the opportunity to express their beliefs without fear. 

Samuel Tan, 25, Year 4 Business Student

Earlier this year, Samuel started a mentorship programme after noticing that graduating students transiting to the workforce may struggle to live out the Christian faith in the marketplace.

Encouraging Christians to continue to be loving witnesses while understanding their role in the public square, this is what he said in response to the repeal of 377A:

Is college life really “inclusive”?

The Government has said it is working on ways to deal with cancel culture and work pressures that silence conservatives, but I’m already facing discrimination in school.

On the first day at my residential college’s orientation camp, I was pressured to address people by preferred pronouns.

The orientation talks also mentioned that the college is an “inclusive” place. By that, it meant that you’re either approving of the LGBT lifestyle, or “bigoted and homophobic”.

During the sexual consent workshop, a student who spoke up about how people who disagree should be cancelled was also not stopped by the professor.

The experience in my residential college has been very alienating for me. I felt misunderstood and isolated for my values.

I’m also genuinely worried that I will be discriminated for my Christian beliefs at the workplace.

Some of my seniors have already felt pressured by their MNC employers to wear Pride lanyards and attend corporate Pride events. If they don’t do so, they’re visibly non-affirming, and their bosses think of them as backward and bigoted. 

Ill preparation for the repeal’s ramifications will leave the country even more divided.

Seek to understand

I encourage young adults to equip themselves with a robust understanding of persecution and cultural apologetics.

What is God’s design for the body, sex, marriage and government? What is public Christianity, the mission of God and our role in God’s redemptive plan?

Unless we can clearly restore the institutions that are quickly becoming defunct and understand our purpose in the public square, the Church fails its role to show the way forward for human flourishing.

We will inevitably sit in classrooms with friends and professors who disagree with the Christian position on LGBT matters.

When challenged about our views, we have an opportunity to point them to Jesus Christ.

We can share our appreciation of marriage as a permanent, exclusive and comprehensive union of man and woman with the potential for new life.

Practically speaking, I have engaged friends and written to my MPs and ministers to share my views.

I have journeyed alongside friends with same-sex attraction who want to process their struggles in light of God’s ability to help them overcome.

I’m also reading a lot so that I can equip others in time to come.

Stand firm

Lastly, remember that we stand with a great cloud of witnesses who are watching that we become worthy ambassadors of the Gospel they fought for with blood and tears. 

Learn from Daniel. He drew a huge line in the sand, and chose to live on a diet that made him visibly distinct from the rest of the palace.

Likewise, we can avoid partaking in the diet of the world and instead feed on the Word.

Let us be a consistent witness of the gospel in spite of the waves that assail our culture.

Even in the storms of life, we can sleep secure with Jesus (Mark 4:35-41) — unfazed by social pressures, soothed by His promises to us and warmed by His peace. 

Xinyi*, 22, Year 4 Medical Student 

It was the controversy over “conversion therapy” in 2021 and how that could eventually affect clinical practice that increased her concern for LGBT activism in Singapore.

Here, she shares how she approaches conversations on sexuality and marriage where there are differing worldviews.

The influence of LGBT activism on university campus is a space to watch, as this is often where ideas are influencing and propagating within a generation.

There are already requests from LGBT students seeking greater protection and freedom on campus, some of which I believe are valid.

For example, I feel that to provide gender-neutral toilets specifically for transgender groups of students is acceptable and reasonable because I recognise that some of them may not feel safe or comfortable using single-sex toilets.

But if going forward the request is, for instance, to make all toilets on campus gender-neutral, that is completely different.

It’s important to not lump all the different requests and arguments together, but take time to unpack and reflect on each one.

Learning to dialogue

In my school, I have not faced discrimination yet, possibly because I’ve been quite timid and not spoken my personal views aloud yet.

However, I have heard of friends from other faculties whose lecturers publicly express their personal support for the repeal of 377A through passing comments.

As a student, I would probably be quite affected by value-laden comments my lecturer makes.

I think it’s valid to have a personal opinion, but we must be sensitive of the influence we wield and be mindful of the intentions behind our speech, especially in the public square.

I’m afraid that academic rigour may be compromised as alternative views (for example, those that support traditional marriages or family structures) are silenced through cancellation — often by loud voices or by people in authority.

A possible way I would respond to authority in these cases could be writing an email to clarify with my lecturer what was said, and humbly ask if I could share my views, questions or concerns.

The purpose of academia is to get us closer to knowing the truth. If we cannot have thorough discourse because we’re unwilling to let our own beliefs be challenged and scrutinised, we will not move forward in the pursuit of truth.

Therefore, it’s important to create and be a part of building a symmetrical discourse within the classroom setting.

Stay curious

Personally, I’m still learning to pray for my heart to be in a posture of humility and curiosity, so that I may desire to listen to what my friends’ thought processes and sentiments are.

I try to start conversations not with the intention to convince my friends to believe what I believe, but because I’m genuinely curious about what they think and desire to learn new perspectives from them.

I seek their permission to ask them more questions to clarify or challenge their ideas, so that if they are not ready to give an answer, we can both have space to dwell on the thoughts further. 

I also found it helpful to begin talking about sensitive topics with friends, who are most likely to give me grace and the benefit of doubt, before conversing with others.

This is a precious, gradual sharpening process, and I’m deeply thankful to my friends who are willing to engage with me.

Through my conversations, I’ve learnt that there are very real difficulties that people in the LGBT community go through, and my heart can be breaking for these. 

I’m challenged to catch God’s heart in these difficulties I hear about. What would it mean to love my neighbour as myself?

The reason for our hope

I know that I must be rooted in prayer, or else I find myself easily overwhelmed or apathetic.

I’m apprehensive of starting difficult conversations on sensitive issues because I’m afraid of getting shot down or labelled.

I also often lose myself — and forget that I am a child of God and I belong to my Father — in trying to unpack and logically explain the goodness of God’s design through philosophy, social science and science.

But I was recently reminded by a friend that it’s important to re-centre myself and remember why I’m even caring about this topic and equipping myself.

We stand up and speak God’s truth into society because this is how we reveal Christ to a broken world.

Although understanding the various narratives surrounding sexuality and marriage may seem challenging, we can start small by asking specific questions to examine the truth of a claim.

This may then lead us to do more research, thereby building up our understanding bit by bit. 

Let us remember that we as the Church are to reveal Christ — the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

May God grow our heart for the sheep that are not of this fold, so that they will recognise their Shepherd’s voice too. 

As Christians, let our love for people be where the truth of the Gospel be seen.

In our care for others, let us connect and be quick to listen, and slow to speak and become angry (James 1:19).

May we persevere in prayer, that God may also grant us opportunities to share the Bible-based perspective of marriage and sexuality where conversations open up space to do so.

In this time of change, let us cast our hope not in present circumstances. Instead, let us cling on to our hope that is not in this world but in Jesus.

God is sovereign and still on His throne (Isaiah 6:1), and He reigns in every situation.

Would you like to pray along with me?

God, we repent before You in fear and trembling of how we pass judgement on others’ sins.

For all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Yet the Word proclaims the truth that all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Please purify our hearts and restore all of us in our brokenness.

May we be on our knees interceding for Your lost sheep, and by the grace of God would You use us to reveal the voice of the Good Shepherd!

God, would You please teach us how to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and live out a love that is patient and kind; a love that does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth; a love that always hopes and always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

*The interviewee has requested to use a pseudonym for confidentiality.

For other articles related to the repeal of Section 377A, read:

  1. Why is it important to care about social issues?
  2. How are you forming your beliefs and convictions on such issues?
  3. When was the last time you tried to engage in a conversation with someone on an issue where both of you had differing opinions?