What is wrong with the world today? As if the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t bad enough, it seems that some people are going out of their way to making things worse. We’re seeing some really bizarre acts towards the LGBTQ community in the region recently – from pride flag-throwing to government-level decrees.
Pride flag at SMOL incident
A man was so incensed by the display of a small pride flag at the Lau Pa Sat chain of SMOL that he verbally lashed out at the two employees on duty, before picking up the flag and throwing it over the counter at one of them.
The afternoon incident was caught on video, and a transcription (provided by the owner, Charmaine Low) of the incident basically said: “Do you know that this is a public food court? Not everybody support LGBT!!?? How can you put this flag?? You are the kind of people who is destroying Singapore! Go to hell!”
The matter is now in the hands of the Singapore Police Force. An Instagram post from SMOL stated that the intention of showing the CCTV footage was not to dox or track the perpetrator down, but to highlight the everyday reality that the LGBTQ community in Singapore experience.
While PM Lee said back in November that gay and lesbian people are ‘valued members of society’, it’s clear that more work needs to be done to promote understanding and tolerance for this community. However, since the incident, many people have come forward in support of SMOL.
Malaysia decrees tougher punishment for LGBTQ folks
The Malaysian government announced the possibility of heavier punishments for the LGBTQ community. Officials say that said the current sentence – a three year imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000 and six strokes of the cane – was seen as not giving much effect on the group of people.
Apparently, stern action is currently taken against those who do not dress as required of their gender, and all state religious agencies and enforcers have been instructed to take action against those (LGBTQ) who do not behave accordingly.
The official also urged the public to come forward and report any information on unhealthy activities carried out by an LGBTQ group.
MOE and the case of a transgender student
Just over the weekend, a transgender student’s story went viral after she accused MOE of attempting to stop her from receiving hormonal therapy (HRT). The ministry denied such reports.
According to Ashlee, despite having parental consent to medically transition, Ashlee and her father were informed by school administrators that should she choose to receive HRT, it would have to be at a reduced dosage. They told Ashlee that she would be expelled if physical changes from the hormones made her no longer able to fit into the boys’ uniform.
On 5 Nov 2020, Ashlee was pulled out of class and reprimanded for her hair length. On 11 Jan 2021, Ashlee turned up at school only to be thrown out of the compound because her hair length did not comply with the boy’s dress code.
Ashlee had to choose between receiving an education and receiving medically necessary treatment. You can read about her account here.
With all this negativity towards the LGBTQ community, at least there was a bright side this week… in Japan:
Adachi ward first in Tokyo to recognise LGBT partnerships
Adachi will become the first ward in Tokyo to not only recognise LGBT partnerships, but also recognise the children of LGBT couples as family. The change is the result of a proposal by Adachi native Nakamura Satoko, head of Kodomappu, a group that works to support LGBT couples who want to be parents.
Adachi plans to make a full proposal in February and have it implemented by next year. However, Adachi isn’t the first locale in Japan to do this; that honour goes to the city of Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture which enacted their policies in early January this year.