Sexuality FAQs - more balanced approach, please
WE APPRECIATE the Health Promotion Board's efforts to help the public better understand homosexuality and bisexuality through its website.
In the past 12 years that Focus on the Family Singapore has dealt with sexuality, we can testify to the complexity and sensitivity of the topic.
Admittedly, views are diverse and the science is not conclusive about the cause of homosexuality and whether one's sexual orientation can be changed.
Furthermore, it is hard to separate the issue from morality because, while sex is a private matter, its implications can extend beyond self to society at large. We presume this is why HPB took it on as a public-health issue.
As an organisation dedicated to helping families thrive at different stages of life, we would like to propose a more comprehensive and balanced presentation of facts and science.
While the FAQs state correctly that homosexuals can have long-lasting relationships, they could have mentioned that, while this is possible, the likelihood of it is low.
One study reported that 95 per cent of homosexuals do not stay with the same partner for more than 20 years. Another study found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight other sexual partners per year.
While the FAQs state correctly that anyone who engages actively in unprotected sexual activity is at risk of being infected with sexually transmitted infections, they could have included statistics that show homosexuals to be 40 times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexuals.
The Independent recently published that sexually transmitted infection rates among gay men have reached "crisis" levels, despite Britain being a liberal, pro-gay society where gays are more accepted than in the past.
The HPB FAQs can be an even more helpful resource for all who seek to understand their and their loved ones' sexuality, if a more balanced approach is taken through provision of comprehensive and accurate facts.
Lastly, we agree that parents should encourage their children who might be struggling with their sexual orientation to share their feelings with someone knowledgeable about sexuality.
Focus on the Family has a counselling team trained to deal with sexuality and gender issues, as well as sexuality programmes and various resources targeted at youth and parents to equip them to communicate with their children on this topic.
We look forward to partnering HPB in this area.
The writer is the chief executive of Focus on the Family Singapore.