Protect 377A FAQs
- What is Section 377A?
Section 377A of the Penal Code is a Singapore law that criminalises the commission of acts of “gross indecency” between male persons:
Outrages on decency
377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.
Section 377A was extensively debated in the Singapore Parliament in 2007, and the Government decided to retain Section 377A without proactively enforcing the law. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained in his speech that this was to “maintain a balance”, “to uphold a stable society with traditional, heterosexual family values, but with space for homosexuals to live their lives and contribute to the society.”
- Does the Government enforce Section 377A?
The Government has said that it does not proactively enforce Section 377A. In October 2018, the Attorney-General stated his position that prosecution of “two consenting adults in a private place” under Section 377A “would not be in the public interest”.
On 28 February 2022, Singapore’s highest court – the Court of Appeal – issued a decision stating that Section 377A is “unenforceable in its entirety” until the Attorney-General “provides clear notice” of his intention to assert his right to enforce it proactively by way of prosecution.
- Is it true that majority of Singaporeans only care about the knock-on effects of repealing Section 377A and not about Section 377A?
We are not aware of any quantitative study to-date that asks respondents about this, and thus it is not clear that a majority of Singaporeans only care about the knock-on effects of repealing Section 377A and not about Section 377A.
However, it is clear that repeal of Section 377A will have knock-on effects in many areas of law, public policy and society. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong observed in 2007: “So, supposing we move on 377A, I think the gay activists would push for more, following the example of other avant garde countries in Europe and America, to change what is taught in the schools, to advocate same-sex marriages and parenting, to ask for, to quote from their letter, ‘…exactly the same rights as a straight man or woman.’ ”
- With Section 377A in place, will I be prosecuted if I go for HIV testing?
No, the existence of Section 377A does not and should not deter HIV testing. We would stand against the prosecution of anyone under Section 377A just because he comes forward for testing.
According to the decision issued by Singapore’s highest court – the Court of Appeal – on 28 February 2022, Section 377A has been declared “unenforceable in its entirety” until the Attorney-General “provides clear notice” of his intention to assert his right to enforce it proactively by way of prosecution.
Anonymous HIV testing is easily available. People who care for their sexually active homosexual or bisexual male friends and loved ones can and should encourage them to go for this service.
For a list of clinics providing anonymous HIV testing, please refer to:
- Section 377A is the reason I am discriminated at work. Why should I support this?
We support fair and merit-based employment practices. Employment should be based on a person’s ability to perform the job and the needs of the relevant job, instead of personal characteristics that are not relevant.
We disapprove of anyone using Section 377A to discriminate or justify discrimination against people on the basis of their homosexual or bisexual identities.
We encourage individuals who encounter employment discrimination to contact the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) for advice and assistance: www.tal.sg/tafep
- I am an LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) person. Doesn’t the mere existence of Section 377A mean that I am a criminal?
Section 377A of the Penal Code is a Singapore law that criminalises the commission of acts of “gross indecency” between male persons. Thus, it only applies to same-sex sexual activity between male persons.
Furthermore, there is no threat of prosecution under Section 377A. According to the decision issued by Singapore’s highest court – the Court of Appeal – on 28 February 2022, Section 377A has been declared “unenforceable in its entirety” until the Attorney-General “provides clear notice” of his intention to assert his right to enforce it proactively by way of prosecution.
- The existence of Section 377A is the reason why I cannot find rental housing arrangement. I want it repealed.
Singapore is a country with limited land area. We encourage landlords to extend accommodation to all tenants as far as possible. Any permitted or non-permitted uses of rented property should be communicated and set out in clear terms in tenancy agreements.
We disapprove of anyone using Section 377A to terminate the tenancies of their tenants. Tenancies should only be terminated according to the clear terms of the tenancy agreement, in the event of serious breach or by mutual consent.
We encourage tenants who face problems with their landlords to seek legal advice and consider legal action if necessary.
- Should not all LGBTQ+ people support the repeal of Section 377A?
The principles undergirding Section 377A are objectively good for everyone. The social norm of family as a unit of – in the words of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – “one man one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit” provides a foundation for the flourishing of individuals and society.
Not everyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ supports LGBTQ+ causes, or the changes to law, public policy and society sought by activists.
Section 377A protects our future, families, and children.
Follow our page to understand more about why we should all protect Section 377A.