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Anti-gay Singapore is leaving LGBTI people without a home

Anti-gay Singapore is leaving LGBTI people without a home

Pink Dot 2018

LGBTI Singaporeans are struggling to find somewhere to live in one of the world’s most affluent cities.

Conservative attitudes centered on a heteronormative family can push LGBTI Singaporeans from their family home.

What’s more, while Singapore’s government provides generous subsidized housing, it effectively excludes LGBTI individuals.

Finally, without anti-discrimination legislation to protect individuals in the private renting market, LGBTI tenants are at risk from homophobic or transphobic landlords.

The situation facing LGBTI house-hunters reflects wider hostility towards the community in Singapore. Section 377A of Singapore’s colonial-era Penal Code criminalizes gay sex with up to two years in prison.

A recent survey found more than half of Singapore’s population support the draconian legislation.

Singapore lawyer Indulekshmi Rajeswari told the Property Guru that the government had often stated its intention to ‘encourage [heteronormative] families’.

Pushed out

According to Singapore’s 2016 National Youth Council Survey, 97 percent of unmarried young people live with their parents.

But, conservative families often push LGBTI youngsters out of the family home.

A local Facebook page of queer confessions receives many messages from LGBTI youngsters ejected from their homes.

Most, with nowhere to stay, end up crashing with friends.

Singaporean resident Kyle Malinda-White (Photo: Provided)
Singaporean resident Kyle Malinda-White (Photo: Provided)

Government housing

Singapore currently has the world’s second highest rate of home ownership. This is because of a generous government housing program.

The government allows young married heterosexual couples to apply for grants at the age of 21. But, the policy excludes LGBTI residents, according to Rajeswari.

‘Only those in a recognized family unit—primarily married heterosexual couples—are normally allowed to buy a HDB [government-assisted] apartment’ the expert said.

LGBTI individuals — even couples — are only eligible for single person schemes at the age of 35.

‘It has always been harder for LGBTI people’ Singaporean Kyle Malinda-White told Gay Star News. ‘Gay couples cannot apply for public housing’.

‘Renting is the only way out for now’ he said, who founded an app, Prout, to get LGBTI people socializing in the city-state.

But, Singapore has no anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI people.

Transgender Deveshwar Sham, who’s identification documents did not match his gender while he was transitioning, told Property Guru he had difficulty renting.

‘They don’t discriminate in front of us, or publicly, but they’ll say they already have a tenant,’ he told the website.

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