The recent online vitriol some Singaporeans have spewed on a man from a local junior college who was seen on an Instagram post kissing his male partner was worrying, said Singapore’s Inter-University LGBT Network.
In a press release on Sunday, the network denounced comments inciting violence that were made towards the couple and urged authorities to investigate netizens who had advocated acts of violence towards them.
In particular, the network highlighted a comment made by user UptheToon on the HardwareZone forum thread Eat Drink Man Woman, asking for the couple to be placed in gas chambers.
“Comments like this which incite violence against vulnerable and marginalized communities have no place in our society and should not be condoned,” said a spokesperson in the statement.
Referencing a comment made by minister K Shanmugam on protecting members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, the spokesperson said that inaction towards such comments “implies that members of the public can encourage acts of violence against members of an already marginalized community without fear of repercussion”.
The Inter-University LGBT Network consists of several member groups from different universities in Singapore and works with campuses in fostering safer and more inclusive school communities regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
In the statement, the network also pointed out how the principal of the junior college that the affected student was from, Pamela Yoong, missed a “lost opportunity for her to take a principled stand against cyberbullying and homophobia, given that the student was a target of vicious netizens”.
The network, however, commended the principal’s concern for the student in asking him to remove the photo of the couple kissing to protect his privacy.
Referencing a 2012 report by counseling service Oogachaga, the network claimed that there continues to be a lack of support for LGBTQ students in schools here, “allowing for the continued marginalization and bullying of LGBTQ+ individuals”.
Minister K Shanmugam told the media last November that action would be taken if members of the public are violently attacked regardless of one’s sexual orientation.