The grandson of Singapore’s founding father has gotten married.
Last Summer, Li Huanwu, a 31-year-old working as a general manager, came out as gay and introduced the world to his lover Heng Yirui. While this doesn’t seem too substantial at first, the moment became world news because of Li Huanwu’s family.
Li Huanwu’s grandfather is Lee Kuan Yew. He was the founding prime minister of the Singaporean city-state. He declared the formation for the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 as an attempt to detach the city and country. He then stayed on as Prime Minister until 1965 after successfully splitting the two apart.
News of Li Huanwu’s coming out was met with much praise and celebration. And now, we have even more to celebrate, as he has gotten married.
On May 24, Heng Yirui shared a picture of himself and Li Huanwu in Cape Town, South Africa. The two had just finished a wedding ceremony.
“Today I marry my soulmate (Li). Looking forward to a lifetime of moments like this,” wrote Heng Yirui in the post.
Li Huanwu then confirmed the wedding with the South China Morning Post by saying, “Today would have been unimaginable to us growing up. We are overjoyed to share this occasion in the glowing company of friends and family.”
Despite gay sex being illegal in Singapore under Section 377A and gay marriage not being recognized there, the news of Li Huanwu’s wedding has been well-received by Asian news sources and social media users. This included Li’s father Lee Hsien Yang and aunt Lee Wei Ling, who expressed joy to the South China Morning Post.
“I believe my father would have been thrilled to know this,” said Lee Hsien Yang.
And indeed, it seems that Lee Kuan Yew, who has passed away, was supportive of gay life and love. In his book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going from 2011, the former Prime Minister said that homosexuality was “not a lifestyle.”
“You can read all the books you want, all the articles. You know that there’s a genetic difference,” he wrote.
“They are born that way and that’s that. So if two men or two women are that way, just leave them alone.”