Two gay men were secretly snapped kissing on a Singapore train by a homophobe who posted it online and sparked a viral hate campaign against the couple.
Peter Eggenhuizen, a researcher at one of Australia’s leading medical schools who was one of the men in the picture, has spoken out after being targeted with hate slurs.
While traveling on the Singapore Metro train two days ago with his boyfriend, a fellow traveler snapped their picture and then published it online without the couple’s permission.
She demanded the ‘sex police’ should ‘keep the gay community in check’.
But Eggenhuizen told us the hatred will not push them back in the closet.
In the article on All Singapore Stuff, the contributor known only as Melinda, posted the picture of the two young men kissing on the one of city state’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains.
She claimed ‘homosexuals should be thankful that they have their annual Pink Dot’, Singapore’s equlivalent to Pride.
Saying she didn’t show their faces out of kindness, she then called their display of affection ‘simply disgusting in a public space’.
And she asked what she should tell her children if they asked questions.
Melinda wrote: ‘Would I have to answer “It’s the same as normal love and marriage?”
‘“The only difference is that one man opens his buttocks for the other man to put his private part inside but in the end, no babies come out. They only get AIDS?!”’
She also wondered whether this was a ‘publicity stunt’ by the gay community, who the writer said should go back into the closet ‘and stop seeking attention’.
The article spread far and wide, picked up by media across Asia.
Chan Chung Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, has said he wouldn’t discriminate against gay people but same-sex displays of affection should be kept behind closed doors.
‘I’m not a sex policeman,’ he said in a speech.
‘But if you tell everyone to champion pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT [causes], it [might] cause social divisions, so [I have to step in] to be the policeman in the middle.’
Quoting Sing, Melinda called for a sex police as well as stricter laws, so they couldn’t promote their lifestyle.
‘A vast majority of Singaporeans do not approve of gay marriage and are unlikely to change our minds anytime soon,’ she said.
‘Singapore should not degenerate into a free-for-all where gay men can brazenly go around wrecking young boys’ buttocks in the name of love, without fearing the consequences of their actions.’
The article has been shared more than 82,000 times on Facebook and attracted thousands of comments – most of them showing support for the couple.
Eggenhuizen told us Melinda was ‘a sad reminder that we live in a world where GBLTIQ rights are far from equal’.
‘Unfortunately my boyfriend and I have been caught up in this commotion and I would like to rise up against and raise awareness of this homophobic attack and public shaming and highlight to tourists to be vigilant when travelling overseas, even to nations which are largely accepting, such as Singapore, or so I thought,’ he said.
‘Homosexuality is still illegal in Singapore and although the majority of Singaporeans support or are indifferent to LBGTIQ people, there still exists an undercurrent of homophobia in their society, right up to government level.
‘This experience has not damaged me, in fact it has emboldened me.
‘I will continue to express my love and do it my way.’