Dear Pastor Khong,
I had chanced upon your latest status update and was pleasantly surprised when you had said that, “To anyone out there with homosexual orientations, I want to say: God loves you. The Bible (God’s Word) unequivocally calls me and my fellow Christians to love you unconditionally.” However, you continued to say that, “While we reject sin, we love and accept the sinner.” Though you showed honesty in saying how according to the Bible, “sexual sins, therefore, include heterosexual promiscuity, homosexuality, polygamy, paedophilia, beastiality and necrophilia,” and that you agreed that, “In God’s view, I suspect we are all sexual deviants.”
Previously, you had said that you were worried that the legal acknowledgment of homosexuals would lead to, “negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of the society. It takes away the rights of parents over what their children are taught in schools, especially sex education. It attacks religious freedom and eventually denies free speech to those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by increasingly aggressive homosexual activists.”
In your latest status update, you apologised for thinking so and said that, “I repent of rejecting, alienating, and condemning you because of my own fears or ignorance of or indifference to your struggle. On behalf of the Christian community, I ask you to forgive us for where we have consciously or unconsciously rejected you or condemned you. I commit myself and my church to do our best to come alongside you in your sexual struggle—while not condoning sexual sin, be it yours or mine.”
Thank you for your apology. I forgive you.
You go on to say that, “Having said all the above with genuine sincerity, please understand that, as concerned citizens of Singapore and as Christians, we are NOT against the homosexual person, but we are unapologetically against the homosexual agenda. And that makes a world of difference.”
According to you, “the homosexual agenda is a political movement. It is well-funded internationally”, and that it is a “well-thought out plan (which)… comes in five steps.”
Honestly, when you spoke about the “homosexual agenda”, I had sincerely wanted to find out more, because if there was indeed an homosexual agenda which I did not know of, which would be unfair to others, I will be the first one to speak out against in and to prevent this agenda from being practiced.
I read on about the five steps of the “homosexual agenda” that you speak of:
1. Decriminalization of homosexual acts or sodomy.
2. Equalization of age of consent for heterosexual sex and homosex.
3. Anti-discrimination laws e.g. pushing for equality in sex education to cover heterosexual sex and homosex
4. Same sex marriage or civil union
5. Homosexual parenthood and adoption rights
When I read the five steps you purport, I was slightly bemused and didn’t know how to react to it.
You see, Pastor Khong, I am gay. What you say is a ‘homosexual agenda’ is something that I live through everyday. One day when I find the person I love, I want to be able to marry the person, and live in a committed, healthy and supportive relationship with him. Pastor Khong, I do not have an agenda nor am I interested in imposing my life on others. I am also not interested in imposing my beliefs on others. You see, Pastor Khong, being gay is not a belief or a choice that I have decided to live with. I live with it because just like you are heterosexual and live your life along the way you know yourself, so do I live a life the way I know mine.
The truth is, I’ve always felt that for the heterosexual community, you have it much easier. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through the life I did. I had to grow up, facing discrimination in school and I had to learn to day in, day out, deal with it. Can you imagine how it had felt whenever I went on stage and I got booed down the stage? Can you imagine, how it had felt, for a teenager, who was only starting to learn what it was like growing up, having to be jeered at and ostracized, simply because he was gay? I know, because I had to grow up living with it. For me, it was very real.
Did I have a ‘homosexual agenda’? No, I don’t, Pastor Khong. I don’t. Because all this while, throughout my whole life, I just simply want to live my life, and I want to help the other gay people I know be able to live theirs, so that they are able to life their heads up and accept themselves for who they are. It isn’t easy living a life as a gay person, and why would anyone choose that? I do not want another person to go through what I had to go through. It’s painful.
When you speak about the ‘homosexual agenda’, you spoke about how society would then enact anti-discrimination laws and ensure that there is equality in sexuality education.
Pastor Khong, but this is precisely what we did – not because I am gay. There are many people who continue to be discriminated in society – women, people of other races, the elderly, migrants etc. We need anti-discrimination laws to protect our people and our workers from being discriminated, because there are others who do not believe in their way of life or their rights and have thus chosen to discriminate against them. I have friends of other races who are discriminated. What do I tell them when there are no laws to protect them from discrimination? I was discriminated as a child – what would you have told me when I was young when there were people who had discriminated against me? That I should accept it?
It was painful growing up, having to learn to cope with the pain and discrimination. For many teenagers, if they had been taught how to deal with the discrimination and hurt, they would learn to become stronger individuals. But like me, there were, and still are, many gay youths who learn to blame themselves for being gay – for something that is essentially who we are, just like being straight is who you are – and we learn not to accept ourselves and look down on ourselves. If we were taught in school how we needed to learn to respect ourselves and to accept ourselves, we will be able to walk with our heads high. I developed low self esteem which lasted me through all the way until my mid-20s. It was only in the past 4 to 5 years did I finally learnt how to regain belief of myself, and learnt to find the strength to go on living my life, and learning to live a life that I can be proud of.
You see, Pastor Khong, I understand that you have your fears, and I understand that you might not understand the life that I had to go through. And I understand, because you do not live my life, or perhaps understand the inner struggles that gay people have to go through.
Pastor Khong, I do not have an agenda. All I want to be able to do is to simply live my life, achieve happiness in my life and be able to live with the one I love, in happiness and commitment. That’s all I ask for, Pastor Khong. You have the love and marriage that you are able to fulfill with the one you love, similarly, I wish that I am able to do that too.
For a long time, I have been discriminated and learnt to deal with it even as I felt hurt from being marginalized. As I’m growing up and now that I’m an adult, I hope that I am able to settle down peacefully with someone whom I can call home with. However, I’m still being discriminated for living my life. I’m still told that I do not have a right to be recognized for the love that I wish I can grow old with. Pastor Khong, this means that I should continue to feel alone, and stay silent in my own loneliness. I look at the marriage that you have and I admire the joy that passion that others can grow within their marriage. Yet, I know it cannot be mine as I am told to accept the state of my life and be contended, because the rights that are yours shouldn’t be mine, because perhaps I’m not good enough for it.
It hurts, Pastor Khong. It hurts when I continue to reach out to others to help them but when I extend a hand for help, my hand is pushed away. It hurts when I see families go out together in gatherings, when they laugh and enjoy their time together as a whole family and I continue to be on my own, single and silent, wishing that I can have the joy that they can but knowing that I should not want it.
It hurts, Pastor Khong. And it’s painful. I’ve lived with this for a huge part of my life. Should I go on living the rest of my life in pain and anguish? I don’t have an agenda, Pastor Khong. I only want to live a peaceful life with someone that I can be committed in love with.
Which is why it hurts and sadden me when you say that I should, “rise above (my) own personal need and do not be party to this insidious conspiracy.” Pastor Khong, to me, this is not a conspiracy. This is real to me. I am gay and as much as you see it differently, this is my life. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s my life, a life that I’m trying to make do with, because this is what has been given to me, just like yours has been given to yours.
You had said that, “Singapore society has given you space to live your lives, earn a living, and contribute to society—without discrimination or harassment.” Pastor Khong, I’ve lived with discrimination for a large part of my life. This is real. I’ve been hurt and harassed. I’ve been called names. I’ve been booed and jeered off stage and I had to learn the pieces up many times in my life. Pastor Khong, the discrimination is real. The hurt is real. There is discrimination. I’m not asking you to be nice to me. All I’m asking is to allow me to live my life, to be able to hold up my head high with respect and not to have to walk in fear and in sadness, because of how battered I have to feel when my dignity is taken away from me.
You say that, “we will not let LGBTs set the tone for society.” Who will then speak up for me? Who will then allow me to live my life? Where do I belong in this society then, if I do not find a way to let others, like you, know that all I’m hoping for is to live my life, to be my own person and to be someone that I can be proud of, like you are of yourself. That is all, Pastor Khong.
I want to be able to live my life.