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Government survey on LGBT+ issues gets more than 30,000 responses: REACH

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SINGAPORE: A Government survey on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) issues and Section 377A of the Penal Code conducted by REACH had received more than 30,000 responses when it closed on Wednesday (Mar 23) at noon. 

According to a spokesperson from the Singapore Government’s feedback unit, this “far exceeds” the usual number of responses, which typically ranges from “a few hundreds to a couple of thousands”.

Shortly after the survey was closed, those who tried to open the link were met with a message that said REACH had closed the survey due to “an overwhelming response”. 

The survey was opened to the public on Monday, said a REACH spokesperson in response to CNA queries. 

“This survey is one of many that REACH pushes out frequently to Singaporeans to gather feedback on issues they are concerned with,” said the spokesperson. 

The survey gained traction on social media between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with well-known LGBT activist groups Oogachaga and Pink Dot SG pushing out a call for people to share their views through the survey. 

REACH has since closed the survey as it has received more than 30,000 responses on the matter, said the spokesperson.

“We thank the respondents that have participated in our e-Listening Point, and we will share their feedback with the relevant agencies,” the spokesperson added. 

In the survey, a note to respondents read: “We wish to hear your thoughts about the LGBT+ community in Singapore. This survey is open to everyone regardless of your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 

“Your feedback will be shared with relevant agencies and could be used within the Government for policy updates and changes.” 

In the survey, respondents were asked a series of questions on topics such as their views on the treatment of LGBT+ people they may know, and whether they were supportive of the LGBT+ community and their causes. 

Other questions addressed whether Section 377A should be repealed, maintained, or modified and why.

This comes after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said earlier this month in Parliament that the Government is considering the “best way forward” on Section 377A, which criminalises gay sex.

“And if and when we decide to move, we will do so in a way that continues to balance between these different viewpoints, and avoids causing a sudden, destabilising change in social norms and public expectations,” he had said. 

“Policies need to evolve to keep abreast of such changes in views. And legislation needs to evolve to support updated policies.”

Mr Shanmugam was speaking during the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Committee of Supply debate, following the Court of Appeal dismissing challenges to Section 377A of the Penal Code earlier that week. 

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is looking at the Court of Appeal’s decision carefully, he said at the time. 

Section 377A states that any man who commits any act of gross indecency with another man in public or in private can be jailed for up to two years. This extends to any man who abets such an act, procures or attempts to procure such an act.

This content was originally published here.

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