A petition calling for the protection of Singapore’s Section 377A, which criminalises gay sex in the city-state, has garnered 109,000 signatures and been handed to the government.

The number of signatories in favour of the law is more than double that of the pro-gay petition calling for that section of the country’s penal code to be struck down.

Activists have been lobbying for consensual gay sex to be legalised following India’s historic decriminalisation case earlier this month.

Like India, Singapore is a former British colony and has retained discriminatory colonial-era laws such as Section 377A.

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine,” the section reads.

377A was introduced to the penal code in 1938.

“Section 377A is a colonial law that criminalises consensual sex between men,” the petition against Section 377A reads.

“In the past, Singaporeans have been charged, convicted, and punished under this law. Even if it is not actively enforced, the law still punishes our gay friends and relatives by signalling that what they do, and who they are, is condemnable and wrong.

“How much longer must gay Singaporeans live as second class citizens; branded criminals by laws meant to protect all Singaporeans?

“We are ready for a Singapore that treats all her citizens equally. We are ready for a Singapore that respects its minorities and promotes individual choice and dignity. We are ready for a Singapore where people are not afraid to simply be who they are.”

Singapore is conducting its first complete review of its penal code in a decade, with the public consultation period ending on September 30.

Singaporean man Johnson Ong, also known as DJ Big Kid and an ambassador for Singapore LGBTI rights group Pink Dot SG, is preparing to challenge the law in Singapore’s high court.

Another man, Tan Eng Hong, previously made two attempts to challenge Section 377A through the court system and was unsuccessful both times.

Hong was arrested in 2010 for engaging in oral sex in a public toilet.

Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby has warned that we need to do more to tackle global LGBTI rights issues.

“This is a really urgent task from the point of view of the global community.

“We’re talking not about discomfort and injustice and inequality, we’re talking about life, survival, and violent hostility.”

You can read the petition against Section 377A here: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ready-for-repeal.html

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