Leslie Lung is an ex-transgender Christian who works as a creative consultant. He identifies as an "ex-transsexual".
He founded Liberty League, a non-profit group which aimed to promote 'healthy gender identity', in 2006.
Straits Times article, 2003
May 25, 2003
He's a woman... she's a man
Leslie Lung wrestled with sexual issues all his life. The ex-transsexual also sold his house and spent $200,000 to produce his own book on sexuality
By Wong Kim Hoh
There is something soft about Mr Leslie Lung. It is evident in the slight sway of his hips as he walks, and the gentle lilt in his voice. 'A lot of people who see me today will think I am effeminate,' the 39-year-old says matter-of-factly over coffee in Holland Village. 'But they should have seen me then.' Then was more than two decades ago, when he wore more than just the bangs which now frame his youthful face. He had long lustrous locks and a wardrobe full of heels, dresses and accessories. The ex-transsexual has thrown the dresses - together with a few skeletons - out of his closet.
Religion, he says, was his saviour. He has abandoned plans for a sex operation he once almost had. And although he admits to still feeling sexually attracted to men, he claims to have been celibate for the past 19 years. His road to self-acceptance has been rocky, but it culminated in a book, one which cost him two years of his life and more than $200,000 from his savings to write, produce and publish. But more about that later. Nineteen years of celibacy, I suggest as gently as I can, is a notion which beggars belief.
Mr Lung, who runs a creative consultancy company, squirms shyly in his seat and lets out a soft laugh. 'Well, I'm really not in any physical relationship with anyone,' he says. 'Chastity is a word we all hate. But I see it as being responsible to myself. I have made a choice and whether I find women or men attractive is irrelevant.' He adds, with a shrug: 'I have a support group to thank. When I get the urge, I talk about it and find resolution and move on.
Sex is so over-rated and yet, the irony is, it is so important.' He should know. He has been struggling with sexual issues all his life. He was born the only son of a pharmaceutical-company manager and a housewife. He has a 43-year-old sister who is a youth worker in Thailand. 'My Dad did a lot of travelling and I grew up deprived, not financially but emotionally,' he says.
In his mellifluously articulated English, he adds that he 'was not predisposed towards games or rough and tumble play' and was often bullied by primary-school mates for being soft. In his secondary 'all-boys missionary school, can guess which one, right?', he was often hauled up for having 'long hair and putting on make-up'. He struggled with himself and with his friends. 'I tried to be more manly, and suppressed my feelings and liking for art, dance - very narrow definitions of what makes a man - but I was miserable. I didn't feel like a man so how was I going to live as one? 'I was already considering a sex change when I was 12 or 13. My disciplinary master referred me to professional help and I actually went through all the proper channels. I saw a social worker, a psychologist; I read a lot of magazines.'
Over three years of counselling and professional diagnoses confirmed what he had long known - he was a transsexual, that is, he felt he was a woman trapped in a man's body. He did not involve his parents at first: 'They knew, I guess, but they never talked about it. They could see what was happening.' By the time he enrolled as a business administration student in a local polytechnic, he already had a closet full of dresses. He decided on the inevitable after graduation in 1984 - sex surgery.
But like a dramatic Hollywood script, he claims to have had an epiphany three days before he was due in the operating theatre - on a Good Friday, as it turned out. 'One of the key thoughts of the Bible is that a man shouldn't put on woman's clothes. I've always thought that ridiculous but suddenly I saw the principle behind the commandment. God is telling us not to do the opposite. Suddenly I knew that the operation would not be right,' he says. He decided to fulfil his national service obligations and confront his fears of more taunting and bullying face-on.
'I could have found a way out of NS because of my circumstances but to do so would be going against every aspect of my decision to be true to myself. I was really trying to discover who I was as a person, and gender was just part of it.' The next turning point came in 1991 when he met Mr Synclair Rogers, an American pastor who came out of transsexualism to become a husband and a father. The latter also started a ministry called Choices In Singapore to help people with sexual issues.
Mr Lung attended Mr Rogers' self-help support group. The people he met inspired him to embark on yet another tumultuous chapter in his life - to be author, producer and publisher of a book. 'The people I met wanted to talk about their sexual issues openly as they found resolution, and I thought it would be timely that such a book - frank, no-holds-barred - be written.' No publisher would touch the project so he wrote and published Freedom Of Choice, a collection of 20 true accounts of people triumphing over sexual struggles.
The project, which was published in 2000, took over seven years. It was a baptism of fire, one which saw him nearly buried under an avalanche of publishing, legal and distribution problems. He had to give up his lucrative design business to do the project full-time, and even sold his Housing Board flat in Dover Road to finance it. The exercise cost him more than $200,000 and a lot of tears: 'I was very mindful of the fact that people would say that I am exploiting people's stories to make a quick buck.' To silence these detractors, he donated all proceeds, amounting to $70,000, to three social-service agencies, from the sale of 500 hardcover copies of the book.
'People who were not gay accused me of promoting a gay lifestyle. Militant gays, on the other hand, accused me of being anti-homosexual,' he says with a sigh. 'But as the title suggests, the book is about freedom of choice. We're free to choose, and we can choose to be free from whatever constrains us. 'And if that means an alternative lifestyle for some people, then power to them,' says the author, who also gives talks on sexuality in secondary schools here.
There have been uplifting moments though. 'When I explained what I was doing to many of my clients, they rallied around me. They gave me props, made contributions, provided me with information,' says Mr Lung who has revived his agency. Its list of clients include Apple Computers, Asia Pacific Breweries and HBO Asia. Ruefully, he admits that he has sold only half of the 7,000 copies of Freedom Of Choice. The lack of publicity did not help; publications avoided reviewing it because of its controversial nature. 'I was in the PR business, I did press releases for my clients but I couldn't get any mileage for my own work. I was so frustrated,' notes Mr Lung, who lives alone in a Normanton Park apartment.
Would he do it all over again? He laughs and says: 'I hate that question because you can't know the answer. You can't live your life again.' There is a quiet dignity about him. He is obviously religious but he does not proselytise. People who do not know him, he says, 'don't know what I am all about. But we need to challenge our notions of sexuality as far as manhood or womanhood is concerned. Are women really from Venus and men from Mars?' He gives his parting shot: 'If you ask me, we're all on Planet Earth. But we are all different, we are who we are. And this is what I am.'
New Paper article, 2005
Still virgin at 41: YES, I DO WONDER WHAT SEX IS LIKE
MR LESLIE Lung, 41, is a man divided.
An ex-transsexual, he says he feels sexually attracted to men, but as a Christian, he believes that sex between men is wrong.
As he feels little sexual attraction to women, the only way he reconciles his sexual urges with his faith is by abstaining.
He admits that he had many boyfriends as a teenager - but he says that while he 'got physical' with them, he never had sex.
He runs a design consultancy firm and Liberty League, a community service he set up last year to promote gender and sexual health.
In his youth, he struggled with his sexual identity to such an extent that in 1980, as a 16-year-old, he decided to live as a woman - and to eventually 'become' one.
His 'experiment' lasted four years. During that time, he had long hair and wore makeup and women's clothes.
Three days before his sex-change operation, Mr Lung had second thoughts. A church friend counselled him against it.
So he became a man again. Nowadays, he has friends who try to hook him up. When they ask him to go out with men, he declines.
He is, however, more open to suggestions of getting involved with women.
Mr Lung attributes his sexual confusion to his poor relationship with his father and the bullying he encountered in school for being effeminate.
'Last time, I thought it was impossible to be with a woman, but now it doesn't seem so scary.
'But it's not about exchanging one sort of lust for another.'
After all these years, has it become easier to thwart temptation?
Yes and no, he says.
It's easier because he is more experienced dealing with his urges, but as he gets older, he has started thinking about having a family.
'You wonder what it is like (to have sex),' he says.
But he has no regrets about choosing this path. 'I rediscovered my life as a person, and I am slowly regaining my manhood again,' he says, almost exultantly.
Founding of Liberty League
In January 2006, Lung set up Liberty League, a non-profit group which aimed to promote 'healthy gender identity'. The group was supported by the Church of our Savior where Lung worshipped. Other churches included Trinity Christian Centre and City Harvest Church. Willie Cheng, a Roman Catholic who strove to further many social causes, managed to convince the Government to put in seed money of $90,000 for Liberty League. Cheng had recently stepped down from the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre as Chairman and was also the retired CEO of Accenture.
By Pearl Forss
"Focus groups to help gays and lesbians understand their sexual identity are just one of the things that newly set up Liberty League plans to put in place.
The non-profit organisation has received a S$100,000 grant from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.
Liberty League says it is the first community service group of its kind in Singapore.
Its mission is to promote gender and sexual health for the individual, family and society.
To achieve this, it will conduct sexuality talks in schools.
It will also work with organisations such as the Girls' Brigade to educate teenagers on sexuality and biology.
The group will address issues related to romantic relationships, be they heterosexual or otherwise.
It says another important aspect of its work is focus groups for gays, lesbians and transsexuals who are grappling with their gender identities.
Currently, 70 percent of those it works with fall into this category.
There will also be support groups for parents of homosexuals.
Said Leslie Lung, founder and executive director of the Liberty League, "This is very much based on the Alcoholic Anonymous self-help principles. So people come; it's an environment that is friendly, warm, based on friendship, encouraging people to take small steps to talk about the issues, recognize why they are doing certain things, find resolutions."
Does it mean that Liberty League champions gay and lesbian rights?
Leslie Lung explained, "We champion human rights really. It's about people being able to say, I'm human and sexual orientation is so wide. Being gay and lesbian is part of it; coming out of it is part of it as well."
In a conservative society like Singapore, the league's work can be expected to be controversial.
But the NVPC's S$100,000 start-up grant has helped given the low-profile group a public platform for its work.
The money comes from the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports; a ministry official also sits on the panel that approves the grants.
Said Tan Chee Koon, chief executive officer of the NVPC, "Among teenagers, there are some who are confused about sexuality issues, and do need to seek clarification and help to work them through their confusion."
She added, "They need to go to some non-threatening parties to talk about their concerns."
Asked about the nature of the group's work, and those it will be working with, Mrs Tan says the NVPC is all for work that benefits the community.
She said, "We don't sit in judgment on this score but of course it must be for the public good. It must benefit the community; it must be about good works. But if somebody in this case seeks to go out to affirm gender -- in their case healthy sexuality and gender affirmation -- we are neutral on that score."
Mrs Tan added, "When I look at the grant, we are like social investors that invest in non-profit initiatives, which if they prove to be successful, the outcome is that lives are rebuilt, needs are met, volunteers are raised and community resources mobilised."
Liberty League will be officially launched on 25 January."
Epilogue: Liberty League announced on its website that it would be closing for good in December 2014.
The Online Citizen article, 2009
Change you can believe in? (part one)
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Terence Lee / Deputy Editor
Some religious leaders preach it, but psychologists deny it. The word is change, and the subject is homosexuality. While some individuals in the LGBT community seek to change their sexual orientation, are they in fact chasing an illusion?
In this four-part series, the writer explores the idea of conversion therapy and the notion that gays can turn straight, if they choose to do so.
Mr Leslie Lung claims that he has changed.
But while the 45-year-old Christian believes he is different from who he once was, he still calls himself a “transsexual”.
“No, I do not reject my identity. In fact, I’m proud of it,” he says. These words would surprise many, especially when the notion of whether Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people can change has been subjected to heated debate.
Mr Lung, who is also a founder of Liberty League, a secular organisation that facilitates “discussion groups” for individuals dealing with family and sexuality issues, shared with The Online Citizen about his past life of cross-dressing and involvement in the scene, which he was a part of since 14 years old.
Speaking in a sprightly, somewhat feminine voice, he recalled how as a teenager, he would be constantly teased and ridiculed for his mannerisms.
“I felt depressed, to be honest, because of the social expectations of how guys should behave. Also, I had difficulty dealing with my sexuality and the Christian view of it,” he confesses.
But with help from friends, counselors, and church ministers, he soon got over his depression, even though it was a long process. He even dropped the notion of going for a sex-change operation. The key, he says, lies in accepting himself, but living a chaste life as demanded by the Bible.
“If God has made me this way, then it doesn’t make sense to reject my gender identity. Yet at the same time it is quite clear what the Bible says. It’s quite clear what’s right and what’s wrong,” he adds.
He does not consider himself gay, but to him, the same-sex attraction he feels is no different from heterosexual attraction, or even a homosexual one. This is because no matter what sexual orientation or gender identity one has, he believes that sex outside marriage is out-of-bounds, and chastity is a virtue every Christian should uphold.
(Photo, left: Mr Leslie Lung is the founder of Liberty League, which was started in 2004)
But while his Christian beliefs are largely conservative, he rejects the label, calling it “divisive”. This is especially so in the context of the recent Aware saga and its immediate aftermath, where labels like “conservative” and “liberal” have been thrown around in public discourse.
Homosexuality, transsexualism, and conversion therapy
The idea of conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, has surfaced as a topic of contention. This is because Church of our Saviour (COOS), which was embroiled in the Aware controversy, is the only church in Singapore that allegedly practices conversion therapy.
In a sermon preached by senior pastor Derek Hong on 26 April, he said that “change is possible” for LGBTs, and that the nature argument is merely “propaganda” espoused by gay activists.
Choices Ministry is the arm of COOS that specialises in helping individuals “overcome” homosexuality. The website states that it is affliated with Exodus International, which is “a coalition of Christian agencies founded in 1976, providing ministry to people who are overcoming homosexuality.”
However, according to a publication released by the American Psychological Association (APA) and 12 other religious, educational, and health organisations, conversion therapy has not been proven to be “safe or effective”.
Furthermore, some critics allege that it can even cause harm to certain individuals, inducing depression and suicidal inclinations.
This is part of the reason why the APA no longer classifies homosexuality and bisexuality as a “mental disorder” since 1973. This redefinition, however, is contested by the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an American grouping of therapists and psychologists founded in 1992 that supports the use of conversion therapy.
Nevertheless, those at NARTH are in the minority. The APA, on the other hand, represents over 150,000 psychiatrists throughout the country.
While NARTH may contend that research has backed up the effectiveness of conversion therapy, critics argue that these research studies either have too little participants, or have displayed sampling bias – the idea that participants are selected in such a way that manipulates the research results towards a certain outcome.
An example of sampling bias will be the famous study by Dr Robert Spitzer in 2001 where over 200 men and women who have gone through conversion therapy were interviewed.
While the results concluded that more than 66 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women showed significant change, Dr Spitzer himself commented that these individuals were “unusually religious” and may not be representative of homosexuals in the United States.
As for transsexualism, it is still considered a “disorder” by the American Psychiatric Association, although this definition has not raised as much ruckus as the idea of “converting” homosexuals.
Also, while homosexuality is a sexual orientation – which determines whether a person is attracted to males or females, transsexualism is a gender identity – which dictates whether a person considers himself a male or female, regardless of his biological sex.
Causes unclear, conversion therapy discouraged
It seems unavoidable for now that these matters of definition will continue to be hotly debated. A cursory glance of available scientific research reveals no scientific consensus about the cause of homosexuality or even transexuality.
The APA states on its website: “although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors… nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
This is further complicated by an observation from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health that “for some people, sexual orientation is continuous and fixed throughout their lives. For others, sexual orientation may be fluid and change over time.”
In Singapore, conversion therapy is discouraged by psychologists.
Ms Cate Hey, a clinical psychologist at the Singapore American Community Action Counsel (SACAC), says that “ no clinicians at SACAC use conversion therapy as to our knowledge it would be viewed by the profession as outdated and inappropriate.”
Another organisation, Ooga Chaga, which is a “counselling and personal development organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (”LGBTQ”) individuals”, echoes the same view.
In a statement made to The Online Citizen, the organisation says that it does not “provide conversion therapy as we believe it has a long term negative impact on clients, as indicated by [the] APA, peer-reviewed research and many mental health professionals.”
End of part one.
In part two, The Online Citizen will speak with several ex-members of Choices who have failed to change. Look out for in the next few days.
Agence France-Presse article, 2010
Singapore group challenges same-sex attraction
By Philip Lim (AFP) – Dec 30, 2010
SINGAPORE — With a jacket casually draped over a T-shirt and sporting stylishly cropped hair, 49-year-old Leslie Lung looks markedly different from his younger self.
"It's been a journey from that all the way to where I am today," the advertising creative consultant said with a slight smile as he pointed to two photographs taken when he was 20.
The pictures show Lung made up as a woman in a form-fitting black tube top, long wavy hair tumbling over his shoulder and a glittering choker adorning his neck.
They are among the illustrations in a hardcover book written by Lung titled "Freedom of Choice: Short Stories of Freedom from Sexual Bondage."
Describing himself as having spanned "the entire gamut" of relationships, Lung is now the executive director of Liberty League, a controversial support group which says it aims to help people who want to overcome "same-sex attractions".
"We think that it is something that can be managed, it can be something that can be overcome, and there are people who have successfully come out of it," said Lung, who considered sex-change surgery when he was younger.
Set up in 2004, Liberty League is staffed by 10 volunteers and financed by grants from the government and private donors.
Singapore gay rights activists object to Liberty League's activities.
"They present the idea that being gay is bad and therefore you should change to straight," said Alex Au, one of the founders of gay rights group People Like Us.
"But that already is creating stigma. Why do you even present the message?" Au said Liberty League's ideals were "suspiciously similar" to those of Exodus International, a US fundamentalist Christian ministry actively involved in reforming homosexuals.
Lung says Liberty League is secular and not against gays, bisexuals and transgender people, but he draws the line at men having sex with men.
"It is a biological impossibility. It is impossible for two people of the same gender to consummate physical relationship," he insisted.
Despite greater tolerance for gays in recent years Singapore has refused to rescind an old law making consensual sex between men a crime.
"Singapore is basically a conservative society. The family is the basic building block of this society. It has been so and by policy we have reinforced this and we want to keep it so," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told parliament in 2007.
"By 'family' in Singapore, we mean one man one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit."
Lung says Liberty League only caters to people who seek help.
"We're not here to go and convert people, we're not here to say 'oh you must not do this and do that,'" he said.
"Some people who want to continue with the lifestyle, that's fine with us. Some people who don't want to, I think that there should be opportunities for them to explore the other option."
Liberty League conducts weekly group sessions where participants speak about their sexual preferences and dilemmas, said Lung. It can also refer participants to professional counsellors.
Group members typically consist of people attracted to others of the same gender, but those grappling with other problems such as sex addiction are also allowed to take part, he said.
"We find that this has been very, very helpful in opening up people's minds," Lung said.
"So often when people come, they think, oh this is a male issue, this is a female issue, but when they hear different perspectives then they come to understand actually it's a very universal thing."
Lung refused to reveal client numbers, but said "there's more than enough to keep us occupied and busy."
The Christian Post article, 2012
In a 2012 interview with The Christian Post, Lung said that his illustrated the fact that gender or sexual identity was not something that could simply be left to individuals to work out for themselves without risk of serious, potentially irreversible consequences.
This was particularly in view of outmoded gender stereotypes that exist and the excessive emphasis that is placed on certain areas of sexual identity.
Lung did not have the benefit of parental guidance in male conduct, and was ridiculed in school because he did not conform to gender norms. Frustrated by the difficulty associated with living out his gender, he decided to adopt the identity of a female, undergoing hormone therapy and pursuing sex reassignment surgery.
Being a Christian, Lung was warned from the Bible not to continue going down his path. At that point he did not understand the spirit of the verse that was underscored to him, Deuteronomy 22:5, which commands women not to wear men's clothing and vice versa because that is detestable to God.
Then, just days before he was due for the operation in 1984, he remembered being overcome by what seemed to him a strange bout of depression.
"I started to be very unhappy within that week, and I just didn't understand why," said Lung, "because as I mentioned the operation was going to happen in two days and if anything I should be relieved since it was going to be finally over and I could just get on with my life."
His unease led him to seek the Lord in prayer and that changed his life. It was Good Friday.
"I had not attended church for a long time already," he highlighted, "and I said to the Lord: 'If there is something that You want to say to me, now is the time to because otherwise that's it'
"And the Lord brought back to my mind the verse in Deuteronomy. For the first time I heard what the verse was really trying to say, and that is if clothes are such small things, yet the commandment is don't do the opposite, then what more a sex change operation?"
There and then Lung realised that it was not God's will for him to undergo sex reassignment surgery, and he made a decision to abide by that, provided that God would guide him.
"That decision was 28 years ago and here am I. I decided not to go for the surgery, and have not gone back (on my decision)," he said.
More than that, Lung came to recognise that gender was expressed in five different dimensions: namely, the societal, psychological, physical, genetic, and genital.
"(In the past) I simply made a conclusion that since I liked doing these things that a woman did, then I might as well be a woman.
"And so the Lord had to one by one realign my thinking and to really show me what it really means to be a man and more importantly what it means to be a human."
Though the journey had by no means been free from internal battles, gender wholeness Lung had truly found. It can be hard to believe that the self-respecting gentleman whom The Christian Post met on Tuesday once lived quite convincingly as a woman.
Furthermore the Lord had used his wounds to motivate and enable him to heal others.
Not wishing to see any more people go through gender struggles, Lung, 48, had dedicated some 30 years of his life to addressing issues of sexual identity.
In 2004 he founded Liberty League, a community service that works with diverse organisations and groups conducting talks in sexuality, family life and related issues.
"Having gone through all that difficulties perhaps that's why I feel that I was willing to give my time to address these issues while people are willing to listen," he expressed.
Explaining how his work defied human instinct and preference, he said: "It's not like you mentioned earlier when we first met (that) I've always wanted to do this. No. Far from it. Who ever wants to talk about these areas? I'm like anyone else. This is a private area of my life, a sensitive area of my life.
"Why should I open myself up so that people will continue to misunderstand me or continue to make judgments in this area of my life? Why would I want to do that? I wouldn't, if not for the fact that if this struggle that I've gone through will help another person who is also walking that same journey to not feel so alone, to not feel as if it's the end of the world or to feel as if there is no answer."
As a Christian, Lung knew that the "answer is found in the work and person of the Lord" and that "God loves us beyond our gender, beyond our identity, beyond our struggles and He sees who we are on the inside" and "we are not going to be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven just because we are not fully male or fully woman."
Liberty League went beyond ministering to the specific issues of transgender persons. The community service addresses matters faced by the general public like what being a man is all about, how to love one's wife or family, and what it means to be a man of God.
Gender wholeness, with which Lung's work was concerned, was experienced when individuals were confident about their gender to the degree that they were not affected by comments disputing their sexual identity.
In Lung's case, he understood that not being physically strong "doesn't make (him) any less of a man."
Persons who are 'gender actualised', he said, "would be able to make peace with that (such situations) and to live a life beyond the physical or psychological constraints that we may have."
To do that it was necessary to talk through the numerous issues experienced by men and women today. Suggesting situations that required further discussion, Lung asked what if a man did not take the lead, nor was he active or aggressive or a woman enjoyed sports and was even a leader in the sporting field, and liked to speak up. What if a woman had a high sex drive while the man was disinterested?
Clarifying the biblical teaching on the role of the husband as head of his wife, Leslie emphasised that "just as the woman is subject to the man, the man is subject to Christ."
Far from handing men a license to 'suppress' or devalue women, Christ had shown that in God's order of things leadership consists in selfless service.
"We ruling over you is that I am going to be dying for you, and I am going to put you first above me," said the creative consultant.
Furthermore the fact that God took Eve from Adam's rib rather than his head or feet speaks of the fact that the "woman is created on par with man," he explains.
Though God created Eve as Adam's 'helper', it did not mean that women were created 'subordinate' to men. This was because the Bible also speaks of the Holy Spirit, who was fully God and equal in standing to the Holy Father and Holy Son, as a 'helper' of the Holy Trinity.
"There is no subjugation, there is no domination. It's just in a different role."
Seen in that light, gender wholeness "is about finding our rightful place as men and women as God had created the genders to be, and to live with the full expression of that gender," Lung added.
For this reason "if a woman enjoys games and excels in sports we don't tell her - and we don't need to tell her - she's any less of a woman; we don't need to tell her she should not cut her hair short (and put on a skirt)... we tell her it's wonderful you play sports and you are so much stronger than I am... and you are a woman," he says.
"It's about affirming the gender and yet allowing the person to be and to express herself in the giftings that the Lord has endowed her with and to break away from all these old-fashioned norms which may be so outdated and irrelevant today because it's simply lost its significance."
Asked about the exhortation of the Apostle Paul for women to cover the head while praying or prophesying, Lung held the view that it is a call for the woman to dress modestly and appropriately in church "so that she might not arouse the unwanted affections of men who may be either physically aroused or be moved in a sexual manner."
In the past modest dress included a scarf, artefacts and other items of clothing, he points out; though it now takes other forms, the exhortation is still relevant.
Another passage had Paul expressing his view that women should not be allowed to teach. "It was completely appropriate," said Lung, "because women at that time unlike men did not receive an education; so because women were not educated, didn't go to schools, didn't study Scripture... how could they speak? And when they spoke would they not only point to an absence of knowledge or worse still their ignorance?
"And so that verse was really talking about how and when in a place of worship it's not the role of women then to speak."
Letter to TODAY forum
Vital to uphold marriage between men and women
FROM LESLIE LUNG, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LIBERTY LEAGUE
PUBLISHED: JUNE 30, 4:05 AM
I note that the recent Pink Dot event drew a record attendance of 26,000.
(“Pink Dot goes on without a hitch”; June 28, online)
Calls for acceptance, regardless of gender and sexuality, are worthy of merit.
Indeed, for Singapore to be robust and inclusive, we need to include other views regarding matters of sexuality, including those on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues.
For instance, not every person with same-sex attraction believes that such relationships or homosexual couplings are a good way forward.
Liberty League is a volunteer organisation that promotes gender and sexual wellness. We believe it is vital to uphold the family and preserve the integrity of marriage between one man and one woman in a lifelong, monogamous union.
Events showing solidarity, promoting understanding, raising awareness and eliminating discrimination in matters of human sexuality are laudable. But while making comments or participating in such events, let us do that which will always build up and not tear down.
- Edmond Chua, "Rescued from Gender Dysphoria by Scripture, Spirit", The Christian Post, 13 July 2012.
This article was written by Roy Tan.