“More than 34,000 people die by suicide each year,” making it “the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth attempting suicide up to four times more than their heterosexual peers.”
The lack of representation and discrimination can lead to the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals in society being substandard. In Singapore, same-sex sexual activity, adoption, and marriage is illegal. The representation of the LGBTQ+ community in media is seen as taboo; for example, the movie ‘Love Simon’, directed by Greg Berlanti, was given extremely high rating, R21, whereas, in America, it is simply a PG 13 family-friendly movie. Singapore has progressed beyond censorship in recent years, however, we have not progressed all too much. Lack of representation in the media leads to ignorance in the Singaporean citizens, and the people’s response to ignorance usually ends in discrimination. Personally, I was unaware that anything other than heterosexuality and cisgender existed before I moved into an American school in the 5th grade.
This lack of basic understanding could lead to people forming negative stereotypes of the LGBTQ+ community because of the negative portrayals in the media that appear as a form of humor, and remaining discriminatory towards the community because people rarely ever wish to change their methods of thinking if they are brought up with it. This negative outlook that Singaporean citizens hold towards the community leads to isolation to the LGBTQ+ people, causing them to feel alone, targeted, and developing depression and/or committing suicide.
My response: What can we do?
The first stage of improvement is awareness, Singaporeans will not make an effort to understand the LGBTQ+ community in regards to any internal effect, large community events, service, and fundraisers have been done to spread awareness of the LGBTQ+ community in a positive light by support groups like The Pink dot, Oogachanga, and the free community church, this has done some good regarding the young community but barely impacted the older generations whatsoever. By spreading awareness in general, we can educate the masses and education leads to empathy.
Empathy is the ability to connect with others and understand from another’s perspective, media representation allows people to experience life from a different perspective, therefore increasing empathy and acceptance.
How can I help?
In the comments below, please share (1) an idea on how we can work to increase empathy in this local community. (2) How progressive the LGBTQ+ rights/treatment is in your community, and (3) List three examples of how your community has done to progress in LGBTQ+ rights in the past decade.
Sources and works consulted