One of Lee Hsien Yang's son is openly gay. He has not only posted about his sexuality, he also encouraged people to attend Pink Dot and attended it himself.
When Lee Kuan Yew was PM, gays were routinely ID-checked by police and Johor Street, an old haunt of transgender sex workers, was sanitised. What brought about a softening of Grandpa Lee's attitude towards gay people? What brought about his public statement about gay people being born this way in 2007?
Out of respect for the gay son, I do not speculate about the process of the grandson's coming out. However, I doubt the grandson's sexuality would have escaped the family's scrutiny. I suspect the love for a son/grandson shifted one important family.
I have said again and again: coming out to one's own family is a powerful process. It changes things when one is confronted with a gay family member, more so than when one is confronted with a gay stranger. A whole family is forced to deal with the question of what value is paramount: family, or belief system?
Only when enough gay people understand the need to go through this (often) painful and difficult process, and do the ground work, society will shift.
Whether Singapore will go forward or backwards (and the gay issue is not the only thing that will move forward – if it ever does) depends on enough gay people facing the music either at home or with friends (or both). No right is ever handed to any group which is not willing to put in the foot work.
First published on Facebook.