Friday, July 13, 2007
Let's debate without prejudice, judgment or condemnation
Anthony Yeo, a SAFE supporter, wrote this letter to the Straits Times's online forum in response to an earlier article 'Can mum, mum and kids make a family?'

We have reprinted his published letter here.


The Straits Times Online Forum, July 13, 2007

Let's debate without prejudice, judgment or condemnation

MR JANADAS Devan made a very bold attempt in exploring the issues pertaining to same-sex parents forming a family, 'Can mum, mum and kids make a family?' (ST, July 7).

His article serves a useful challenge to the majority view that homosexuals, if permitted to carry on their lifestyle, and/or become parents, will only bring disorder and disaster to family and society.

Of particular challenge are the questions: 'Are the children of divorced heterosexual couples better off than the children of my lesbian friends?' and 'How about the children of single mothers or of constantly bickering heterosexual couples locked in loveless marriages?'

I believe there is a need for further consideration and discussion regarding these questions.

In my 35 years of professional practice of psychological counselling and work with families, this is what I have observed.

Of all the thousands of people who sought counselling for psychological disturbance, relationship problems and effects of stress of life, I observed that all of them had parents from heterosexual marriages.

Those children who have suffered from physical, emotional/psychological and sexual abuse did not have parents from same sex relationship.

In fact, practically every case of sexual abuse involved a parent, usually the father or step-father, uncle, brother and someone known to the family. They were mostly heterosexual encounters.

Of all those who sought counselling with marital problems involving one spouse having extra-marital affairs, practically all of them involved the spouse having a heterosexual relationship.

I have had experiences with men afflicted with sexual addiction, such as pornography and those who engage in paid sex. Most of these men were married heterosexuals.

As I ponder over Janadas' questions, I am also wondering about the tendency to ascribe social and family problems to the threat of a homosexual lifestyle and relationship.

It is so easy to make proclamations that if homosexuals were to be accepted and homosexual acts decriminalised, then society and family life will inevitably deteriorate.

My observations, experiences coupled with research done do not bear this out in any way.

In fact, if my 35 years of professional experience were to be credited with any validity, I am more inclined to ask the following questions:

1. Is there an ideal form of family life?

2. Are parents from heterosexual marriages any safer for children?

3. Could it be possible that such parents are more likely to cause harm to children, leading to long-term psychological problems?

4. What evidence do we have that children of same-sex parents might not be better adjusted people?

5. How do we reckon with the fact that almost all known homosexuals have parents from heterosexual marriages?

In sharing my observations and questions, my intention is to appeal for a reasoned dialogue over this matter without prejudice, judgment or condemnation.

It serves no purpose to persecute any human being, most of all people with different sexual orientation from the majority in society.

Homosexuals are human beings deserving of dignity, respect and acceptance even if we have difficulties understanding them and/or accepting their sexual orientation and lifestyles.

Anthony Yeo
Consultant Therapist
Counselling and Care Centre