Gay Parents in Singapore Face Struggles

The trouble is, virtually all … examples of LGBT parenting are drawn from the West: Europe, North America and Australasia. We don’t hear much about same-sex couples with kids in Asia, and there’s many reasons behind this: our gay scenes are less established, our laws are problematic, our people are a little more discreet about their family lives. – Ng Yi-Sheng

As I noted last month, the issue of same-sex marriage is being discussed in parts of Asia. Taiwan is considering changes to its civil code that could pave the way for the very first gay marriage in Asia, while Vietnam is also studying the issue.

That said, attitudes throughout much of Asia are still quite conservative and it’s not easy being queer, let alone being a queer parent. Some of the struggles of gay parents in Asia were underlined recently in an excellent profile of two Singaporeans.

K, a bisexual mother, and P, a gay dad, shared their experiences with Fridae, a website covering LGBT Asia. Tellingly, neither person felt comfortable using even a first name. Both have children that were conceived in straight marriages that have since dissolved.

K, 34, bisexual mom

K tells a charming story of how she met her current partner, a woman.

“I was with my child, attending an AWARE function, and I fell for her immediately,” she told me. “I walked into the auditorium and that was it. I didn’t know what hit me. And I have to mention, the first time my daughter saw her, she went straight to her. It’s as if she fell in love with her first, and I followed.”

Ultimately, she said, it was her daughter’s acceptance that gave her the courage to come out. “We went out on a picnic. The rest of the group walked forward, M and I were behind. And for some reason we held hands. And then my daughter turned and saw us, and we let go. And she said, ‘Mama if you love her, just hold her hand.’ That was an incredible moment, realising that my daughter recognised love.”

P, gay dad

Though he agreed to be profiled, P asked the blogger not to reveal his age, race or profession for fear he might lose custody of his son.

Officially, P is still married to his wife. He’s three years into a four-year separation process, after which he’ll be filing for divorce. He’s worried that his being gay could have a profound effect on the court case – though it wouldn’t stand as evidence in court, his lawyer friends claim his wife could use it to sway the judge.

P shared how he’d always wanted to be a dad and the wonderful memories he has of his son’s early years.

“What stays with me is getting to know someone while they’re emerging. When people talk about parenting, the focus is too much on how you’re molding them. Don’t give yourself so much credit. You’re watching them emerge: seeing what comes out of your child. For me, this is the magic of parenting.”

You can read the full profiles here.

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