Raise level of debate on sexuality issues: MP Nair

MP Hri Kumar Nair.
Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014
The Straits Times
By Melody Zaccheus

SINGAPORE - The controversy over the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) FAQs on sexuality should not be reduced to an "us" versus "them" issue.

Instead, Singapore should raise the level of debate, and "have a frank conversation about our approach towards homosexuality", wrote MP Hri Kumar Nair in a Facebook note.

Still, it is important to realise that information on sexuality should be readily available for people who need it, he said.

"While many have framed the HPB issue as a pro-gay or anti-gay one, let us not forget the reason for the HPB FAQs in the first place: there are people in our society who have questions concerning their sexuality and who are deeply affected by it. Their needs should not be ignored," he explained.

He added that HPB should not retreat from its educational role and should continue providing a channel for those seeking advice.

In November, HPB had put up a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on its website as part of its programme to educate youth on sexual issues.

The FAQs feature issues such as gender identity and sexual orientation. One of them states that same-sex relationships are "not too different" from heterosexual relationships as they both take the commitment of two people.

Since then, a debate has erupted on whether some of the information on homosexuality was appropriate.

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