CNA Explains: The history of 377A and how some countries have repealed it

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08/19/2022

A controversial law that criminalises sex between men in Singapore has been thrust into the spotlight again, amid an ongoing government review which seeks to find the best way forward on Section 377A while balancing different viewpoints. Authorities here have long said that the law is not actively enforced, with Singapore’s highest court recently reaffirming that 377A is “unenforceable in its entirety” and poses no threat of prosecution. However, activists and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community argue that the real impact of the law lies in how it perpetuates discrimination across different aspects of life, including at home and in the workplace. According to UK non-profit Human Dignity Trust, there are 70 jurisdictions where LGBT people are criminalised, with the majority explicitly criminalising sex between men via ‘”sodomy”, “buggery” and “unnatural offences” laws.

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