Oogachaga regularly engages with local, international, mainstream, independent, print and online media, in order to raise awareness of issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore. Contact us if you would like to include us in your story.

2019

As a non-profit organisation working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and gender-diverse individuals, couples and families in Singapore for the past 20 years, Oogachaga has received reports of people being in similar situations where they may have been victims of crime.

They include transgender women who were sexually assaulted in public; queer women and gay men abused by their same-sex partners; sex workers cheated of their money and possessions; transgender employees harassed at work; and others who had had their HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) status disclosed without permission.
— Today Voices, 12 April 2019
However, Leow Yangfa, Executive Director of LGBTI community support NGO, Oogachaga, questioned the methodology of the findings.

‘It is somewhat inappropriate that the views of the majority should be considered as a benchmark to determine whether a minority – in this case, same-sex couples and the wider LGBT community – should have access to the basic human right to love and form consensual relationships, and not be criminalized,’ Yangfa told Gay Star News.

‘The survey completely ignores the reality of many LGBT individuals, couples and families who are themselves religious and belonging to a faith community.’

Yangfa added that any implication that there is a significant polarisation between religion and the LGBTI community in Singapore ‘cannot be further from the truth’.

‘Many LGBT persons we have worked with come from families and communities that are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist, and may turn to their religion, faith, and spirituality as important sources of guidance, support, and acceptance.’
— Gay Star News, 30 March 2019
‘Singapore, as a developed country, is shockingly backward in our lack of protections of the rights of individuals,’ Leow Yangfa, Executive Director of LGBTI community support NGO, Oogachaga, writes in an email.

‘The existing provisions in the Infectious Diseases Act serve only to protect the identities of persons living with HIV, not their rights,’ Yangfa adds. ‘And as we have seen last month, once the confidentiality of this information is breached, there are no other laws that protect individuals living with HIV from being discriminated [against] by employers, healthcare providers, etc.’
— Gay Star News, 3 March 2019
Social worker and executive director of LGBT counselling group Oogachaga, Leow Yangfa, said that given the “pragmatic reality of Singapore’s situation”, a “subtle combination” of action and inaction was probably the best approach.

“What is more important is that as a community, we do not descend into having divisive views about what is right and best,” the 43-year-old said.
— South China Morning Post, 6 February 2019
Mr Leow Yangfa, executive director of Oogachaga, a non-governmental organisation that works with the LGBT community, told TODAY that it “does not support any form of legislation that treats people unequally”.

“The easy and reactionary thing to do right now is impose further restrictions and penalties on persons living with HIV,” he added. “This current crisis presents to us an opportunity — for the Singapore Government to take the lead in erasing these inequalities and ensuring greater, just protection for all, including gay men and all persons living with HIV.”
— Today, 31 January 2019
‘This data breach is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to someone living with HIV in Singapore’ executive director of LGBTI support group Oogachaga, Leow Yangfa, told Gay Star News.

The social worker said many people were distressed and emotionally affected.
— Gay Star News, 29 January 2019
Shin Min Daily News, 29 January 2019

Shin Min Daily News, 29 January 2019

Mr Leow Yangfa, executive director of Oogachaga, a non-governmental organisation that provides counselling and educational services to the LGBT community, said: “Those of us who live without HIV cannot begin to imagine the shock, distress, pain and betrayal (that persons living with HIV) must be going through right now”.

Affected individuals can access Oogachaga’s confidential and anonymous hotline, WhatsApp and email counselling services, Mr Leow added.
— Today, 29 January 2019
LGBT+ campaign group Oogachaga, which has set up an online and phone counseling service, said LGBT+ people who have yet to come out publicly were most vulnerable from the leak.

“It can only be expected that they are all under some distress,” Leow Yangfa, its executive director said in emailed comments.

Leow warned against a rise in “hateful comments” and that it would further stigmatize LGBT+ and people living with HIV.
— Reuters, 29 Janaury 2019
Mr Leow Yangfa, 44, executive director of Oogachaga, a non-profit organisation that works with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer and gender-diverse (LGBTQ+) community, told The New Paper that the immediate emotional impact of the leak will also be huge.

”In particular, LGBTQ+ persons living with HIV who have not disclosed their HIV status to those around them, including family members, employers, and friends, or are still closeted about their sexual orientation are most vulnerable,” he said.

”This latest leak will contribute to an additional layer of fear - the fear of their HIV status being exposed to others without their consent, when they have been trying so hard to keep it protected.”
— The New Paper, 29 January 2019
Oogachaga said LGBT people who have not disclosed their HIV-positive status to their family and friends, or who are still “closeted” about their sexual orientation, are most vulnerable.

“This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today,” said Oogachaga executive director Leow Yangfa.

“Those of us who live without HIV cannot begin to imagine the shock, distress, pain and betrayal they must be going through right now.”

The organisation said it is offering support to those affected by the data leak via its confidential and anonymous hotline, email and WhatsApp counselling services.

“In coming days and weeks, as the full impact of this is felt, we will continue to make our counselling services available to all those who need it,” said Mr Leow.
— CNA, 28 January 2019
Leow Yangfa, a spokesman for LGBT charity Oogachaga, said the group was concerned people who have not disclosed their HIV status to employers, family or friends could face repercussions due to the leak.
”This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today,” Yangfa said. “Those of us who live without HIV cannot begin to imagine the shock, distress, pain and betrayal they must be going through right now.”
— CNN, 28 January 2019
Oogachaga director Leow Yangfa said personal, identifiable data of HIV patients diagnosed since 2010 was leaked.

He told Gay Star News three gay men living with HIV in Singapore had contacted the organization about the data leak so far.
— Gay Star News, 28 January 2019
An LGBT rights advocate has filed a case against the Attorney-General, stating that Section 377A of the Penal Code - which criminalises sex between men - is “inconsistent” with portions of Singapore’s Constitution, and “is therefore void”.

Mr Choong Chee Hong, better known as Bryan Choong, filed it at the Supreme Court in November last year.

Mr Choong, 41, is the former executive director of Oogachaga, a non-profit organisation working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
— The Straits Times, 22 January 2019