An open letter addressed to Hwa Chong Institution students, and your parents

18 July 2022

As an informal group of LGBT alumni from The Chinese High School, Hwa Chong Junior College and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), we are writing in response to recent online news about an assembly talk called “What are LGBTQ folks so proud of?”

In short, the infographic that was presented seems to be full of misinformation that perpetuates unhelpful stereotypes about the LGBT community through questionable statistics from unverifiable sources.

We also understand that during the talk, a video from a Singaporean group called was screened. Although they describe themselves as helping LGBT people to “come out and come home”, they are in fact a Christian organisation that believes they can stop LGBT people from having “same sex attraction”, seeing it as something shameful that needs to be curbed or corrected.

Their approach has been linked to a defunct American organisation called Exodus International, which shut down in 2013 after issuing an apology to the LGBT community for "years of undue judgement by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole".

We are especially concerned that as a secular, independent school, HCI has decided to allow this, especially since there is no evidence to show that such “conversion” practices are effective. In fact, there is evidence to show that these approaches often cause harm and could even be considered professionally unethical.

To LGBTQ students & youths:

As adults, we are also proud members of Singapore’s LGBT community. We would like to say to you, if you’re a student who is questioning your sexuality and/ or gender identity, or you already know that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or nonbinary:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We stand with you.

If you are currently feeling lonely, scared, worried or anxious about what might happen to you, it’s OK. Reach out to a friend, adult or even teacher that you can trust and feel safe with, and talk about how you feel. It could be in person or online.

Please know that other forms of affirming and non-judgemental support await you. (You may therefore wish to consult professional organizations cited in the list provided at

If you’re feeling emotionally distressed or even suicidal because of this or other incidents, please reach out. Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) provides a 24h suicide prevention service, including text messaging, email and hotline services.

Why Pride? What’s there to be Proud of?

The title of the presentation seems to suggest that the LGBT community is conceited, even arrogant. Some people who want to erase our humanity and identity will draw on the strength of their conviction and oppress us.

We say to you: “Do not let others define and dictate who you are.” Just remember, you are equal, you are strong.

That’s why we as a community feel Pride. Pride is about standing up and not feeling ashamed of who or what we are. Pride is the opposite of shame.

Pride is knowing that you have survived this far, and still looking forward. In the years to come, on your life's journey, you will find and achieve many things that you will be so proud of, just like we did.

To classmates and friends of LGBTQ people:

If you’re a classmate or friend of someone who is LGBT, we encourage you to be kind and understanding towards each other.

We encourage you to do your research and read as widely as you can. Practise the scientific process taught by your Science teachers. Display empathy taught by your Humanities teachers. Learn about history and how it can be misinterpreted and misunderstood in different contexts. Don’t believe everything you see on the screen or read online.

The presentation was saying, don’t be gay if you don’t want to suffer bad health outcomes and lead a terrible life. It is framing the problem wrongly. What if, as moral and ethical people, we ask, what can we do to improve the health outcomes of everyone? That means not targeting already vulnerable groups and questioning why LGBT youth – and adults too – are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, for example. In school, we learned that correlation does not equal causation. What do we collectively need to do?

Your friendship and allyship with your LGBT friends is very crucial, so that together you can continue to grow and learn.

To parents:

We urge you to apply a critical lens so as not to be misled by biased opinions falsely presented as fact.

We hope that you and your children do not lose the critical ability to interrogate the purported "facts" presented, and you should instead investigate the sources, before deciding for yourselves.

If you are a parent whose child has already come out to you as LGBT, or perhaps they may come out to you in the years to come, you are not alone.

In time to come, you will hopefully realise that there is a lot to be proud of. It is hard to put into words, but coming out as LGBT is one of the hardest things anyone can do.

That is why back in your day, you probably did not see or hear of many people “coming out”. Most of us did not come out whilst studying at The Chinese High School or Hwa Chong Junior College. This is because of the fear of social stigma. Why does that persist?

There is a small segment of society that insists on imposing its black-or-white, right-or-wrong view on a minority group, utilising whatever means necessary to deny our existence. That is why coming out is so scary, and because of that, you will be incredibly proud of your child's honesty and bravery in coming out to you.

Even after your child has come out to you, they are still the same child before they came out to you. You will still love them, and you will be proud of them.

We wish everyone all the very best, may you continue to live with passion, lead with compassion.

自强不息, 学以致用


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