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Homosexual applies for permit to hold public forum on how gays fit into the Singapore 21 vision of an ideal society


A BUSINESSMAN hopes to hold Singapore’s first public forum on gays and lesbians on the last Sunday of this month.

Mr Alex Au, 47, has applied to the Public Entertainment Licensing Unit (Pelu) for a permit to hold the event titled “Gays and lesbians within Singapore 21″.

He hopes this forum will help people discuss where gays and lesbians stand in relation to Singapore 21, a national vision of the ideal Singaporean society.

The vision contains five key ideas – every Singaporean matters, strong families, opportunities for all, the Singapore heartbeat and active citizens.

“What does ‘strong families’ mean when a son or daughter, uncle or aunt, is gay?” asked Mr Au in a press statement sent to the media yesterday. “How do we expect gay Singaporeans to feel passionately about the country if they feel discriminated against?”

He noted that the Singapore 21 concept encouraged people to rethink many assumptions in society.

“I personally think that this is one area that would benefit from more dialogue,” he said in a telephone interview with The Straits Times.

Under the law, sodomy is considered an unnatural sex act and those convicted of unnatural sex can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Pelu confirmed that the businessman had applied for a licence on Wednesday and said an application could take up to three weeks to process.

Mr Au, who is gay, is optimistic Pelu will grant him a licence.

“I don’t see any reason why this forum would jeopardise public order, so there is no reason for them to turn down the application,” he said.

Three years ago, he and a few others tried to register a gay group called People Like Us, but were turned down by the Registry of Societies.

He hopes to draw about 120 people to the forum, scheduled to be held at the Substation, Armenian Street, on May 28 at 2:30 pm. Admission is free.

Speakers include Association of Women for Action and Research president Dana Lam, financial-industry executives Kenneth Lau and Salmon Lee and law undergraduate Cho Pei Lin.