The Humanist Society (Singapore) awarded their Humanist of the Year prize to a gay man, Alex Au Waipang, for the first time on Saturday.
‘I think it’s very generous of the Society, though I would understand if it had been a difficult decision since I am a gay man,’ said Au Waipang when he was accepting the prize.
Au Waipang gave a rousing acceptance speech in which he explained why he feels his ‘gayness’ is one of his ‘key defining characteristics’, imagining a world where homosexuality was the norm and heterosexuals are marginalised.
Discussing homosexuality and religion, Au Waipang said ‘even ardent atheists can be homophobic.
‘All this suggests to us that it would be misplaced to blame religion for antipathy to homosexuality. In fact, when we reflect upon it, it is not religion that creates the antipathy, it is the antipathy that corrupts religions.’
Au Waipang said that sexual orientation shouldn’t be a big deal and ‘it wouldn’t be so if we applied reason upon empirical knowledge, which is the very essence of humanism’.
Au Waipang was one of the co-founders of Singapore’s first gay rights group, People Like Us, in 1993. He has been writing his blog Yawning Bread since 1996.
Homosexuality and political protest is illegal in Singapore. The city-state’s only gay rights event, Pink Dot, is on Saturday 30 June.