SDP member Vincent Wijeysingha quits party

Vincent Wijeysingha

SINGAPORE - Opposition politician Vincent Wijeysingha has resigned from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Dr Wijeysingha, who became the first politician to declare he is gay in a Facebook post in June, contested in the last General Election for SDP in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

In a post on Wednesday, Dr Wijeysingha expressed his desire to get more involved in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and other human rights issues.

The 43-year-old said that his earlier post had attracted a debate on LGBT rights: "The shape of the discussion shows there is misunderstanding of these issues, primarily because of lack of mainstream access to appropriate information. Misunderstanding leads to discrimination that works its way into the lives of LGBT people, resulting in anguish and distress.

"I believe that, as a nation, we have a limited appreciation of civil liberties: they have not penetrated deeply into our civic discourse and public administration. There is a great deal of work ahead if we are to achieve the full range of our fundamental liberties."

He added that his last three years with the SDP were spent "in social and economic bread-and-butter policy issues".

"I hope I have contributed in some small way. But after reflection and consultation with friends and colleagues, I have come to believe that I should participate in the more intangible but no less important work to promote our civil liberties."

The SDP said it was disappointed, but understood and fully supported his position.

"Our loss is civil society's gain," said the party in a statement on its website.

From Facebook

Dear friends,

My Facebook post about my sexuality attracted some debate on LGBT rights. The shape of the discussion shows there is misunderstanding of these issues, primarily because of lack of mainstream access to appropriate information. Misunderstanding leads to discrimination that works its way into the lives of LGBT people, resulting in anguish and distress.

I believe that, as a nation, we have a limited appreciation of civil liberties: they have not penetrated deeply into our civic discourse and public administration. There is a great deal of work ahead if we are to achieve the full range of our fundamental liberties.

During the last three years that I have been a member of the Singapore Democratic Party, I have been engaged in social and economic bread-and-butter policy issues. I hope I have contributed in some small way. But after reflection and consultation with friends and colleagues, I have come to believe that I should participate in the more intangible but no less important work to promote our civil liberties.

Therefore, I would like to inform you that I have taken the difficult decision to resign my membership of the SDP in order to explore how I can be of service to the wider cause of our civil liberties, a project which I believe to be the dominant mission of this present period.

I continue to share deeply the values of the party which gave me a political home and the opportunity to learn an ideal of service which I have tried to carry out. I intend to explore ways in which I can honour those values in the civil liberties sphere.

I have discussed my decision extensively with party leaders who have given me their blessing. I would like to ask you also to support me in this decision.

Yours sincerely,

Vincent Wijeysingha


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