Sunday, September 03, 2006
SAFE in the news: Support group started for those with gay children
Support group started for those with gay children

by Sarah Ng, The Straits Times, Sep 3, 2006

When her 15-year-old son told her that he was gay, Dr Khoo Hoon Eng wished she had guidance from other parents in similar situations.

Now, 10 years later, she is starting an online support group for parents with gay children, providing a platform for them to share their stories, understand homosexuality better and discuss their experiences.

With the help of friends from various non-profit organisations, she hopes to get it ready by the year end.

She told The Sunday Times: 'At that time, I would have liked it if there were other parents I could talk to so that I would have an idea of what to expect.'

Dr Khoo's story was recently documented in a new book called SQ21: Singapore Queers In The 21st Century. Her account of how she found out that both her sons were gay is one of 15 stories featured in the book.

She said: 'I want parents to know that it really does get easier to you think, read and talk more about it.'

Dr Khoo, 55, a biochemistry lecturer and researcher at the National University of Singapore, says she is fairly liberal. When elder son Shin Ming told her he was gay, her immediate concern was that he might face a life of discrimination.

Then, three years later, her second son Shin En, by then also 15, told her he too was gay.

Dr Khoo learnt that their confessions did not mean they were sexually active. She also never wondered if she and her husband had caused their homosexuality.

Her husband, however, did not react well. He continues to love and support them, said Dr Khoo, but he is also disappointed.

When they separated three years ago, he told her: 'Good. Now that I have the chance to marry another woman, maybe my future children will not be gay.'

Dr Khoo stressed that their sons' homosexuality was not the reason her 25-year marriage broke down.

Her older son Shin Ming, now 25, graduated in philosophy from Stanford University and is currently reading law at Hastings Law School at the University of California in San Francisco. His brother Shin En, 22, is an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

With her support group, Dr Khoo hopes that other parents can put aside their prejudices and try to accept their gay children.

As she wrote in the book: 'Why be afraid of them? They really are still the same children you loved the day before they outed