365Gay.com: Singapore Bans Gay Events in Public Parks (Aug 8)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Singapore Bans Gay Events In Public Parks
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 8, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Singapore) The crackdown on LGBT pride in Singapore continued Wednesday with a government ban on gay events held in public parks. Police Wednesday told pride organizers they were lifting a permit to hold a picnic and fun run at a park saying politics were not welcome in green spaces.

"It was never meant to be political, and this testifies to the paranoia of the government," Alex Au, an organizer, told the Associated Press.

"They automatically assume that anything gay is a political challenge to them. It speaks volumes about the political climate in Singapore."

The picnic and 5K run were to have been held Thursday in the Botanic Gardens in central Singapore, as part of a weeklong gay pride festival.

The picnic ban is the latest in a series of pride events cancelled by the government.

Censors refused to allow an LGBT book reading event. A human rights forum was blocked. And a photography exhibit of of gays and lesbians was closed by police hours before it was to officially open.

The Media Development Authority balked at a book by author Ng Yi-Sheng about a young man's fictional sexual adventures with older men including military officers and government officials. (story)

The authority said that the book went beyond good taste and decency and disparaged public officers.

The human rights forum was to have featured Douglas Sanders, a professor emeritus in law at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and Thailand's Chulalongkorn University.

The forum, titled "Sexual Orientation in International Law: The Case of Asia," was deemed contrary to public interest.

The censorship board ordered the photo exhibition closed because it showed photos of gay men and women kissing. (story)

The board said that the show violated Singapore law because it promoted "a homosexual lifestyle".

The exhibition, entitled "Kissing," was a selection of 80 posed shots of same-sex kissing between fully clothed models.

Under Singapore law "gross indecency" between two men can lead to two years in jail.

There have been growing calls in the tightly controlled nation for modernization of sex laws. The most recent came in April from Lee Kuan Yew, the man regarded as the father of modern Singapore.

Lee, who served as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990 and is the father of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong remains a powerful force in the cabinet of the city state.

Lee said he plans to introduce a bill in Parliament to remove the ban on gay sex.

Last year Singapore announced plans to decriminalize oral and anal sex for adult heterosexuals but sex between homosexuals would remain banned.

©365Gay.com 2007