Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s grandson, Li Huanwu, publicly came out of the closet earlier this month. Both Huanwu and his boyfriend, Yirui Heng, were featured in the Out in Singapore platform, which aims to foster acceptance and support for “LGBTQ persons who wish to come out to family, friends and peers in the community.”
Huanwu and his partner can be seen with their arms around each other in portraits shot for Out in Singapore. The son of Lee Hsien Yang, 31-year-old Huanwu works as a general manager while his 27-year-old partner is a fellow Singaporean who works as a veterinarian.
While Huanwu has not publicly come out of the closet on such a scale in the past, he has urged Singaporeans to support Pink Dot over the past two years. Last year, Huanwu publicly appealed for members of the LGBT community and straight allies to attend the event in a show of solidarity:
After his portraits with his partner were published earlier this month, Huanwu updated his Facebook profile picture to a photo of him and Yirui. Late last night, Huanwu decorated the profile picture with a Facebook picture from Pink Dot SG and invited all to join Pink Dot this year as well.
Urging netizens to attend the event, Huanwu wrote: “No call to social action this year — I’ll be more selfish: it’s the day before my birthday (it’s also the day after Magnus’ birthday). Be there. (And grab a drink when you stop by.)”
The late Lee Kuan Yew, himself, was supportive of people in same-sex relationships in Singapore. He had consistently stated in interviews his belief that homosexuality is a genetic variance and that homosexuals should not be persecuted.
In perhaps his most famous interview on the topic, Lee Kuan Yew frankly shared his thoughts on homosexuality at a PAP Youth Wing event in 2007:
“This business of homosexuality. It raises tempers all over the world, and even in America. If in fact it is true, and I’ve asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual, because that is the nature of genetic random transmission of genes. You can’t help it. So why should we criminalise it?
“But there is such a strong inhibition in all societies – Christianity, Islam, even the Hindu, Chinese societies. And we’re now confronted with a persisiting aberration, but is it an aberration? It’s a genetic variation.
“So what do we do? I think we pragmatically adjust…”