365Gay.com: Singapore Bans Two More Gay Pride Events

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Singapore Bans Two More Gay Pride Events
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 3, 2007 - 12:00 pm ET

(Singapore) Censors have refused to allow an LGBT book reading event and an LGBT human rights forum at gay pride celebrations in the conservative city - the second such bans in a week.

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.

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

The board said it would allow the book reading to go on but only with a guarantee Ng's book was not included.

Pride organizers called this decision self-serving and cancelled the event.

In addition, police on Friday ordered the cancellation of a human rights forum that 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.

"Our laws are an expression and reflection of the values of our society; the discourse over a domestic issue such as the laws that govern homosexuality in Singapore must be reserved for Singaporeans ... foreigners should refrain from interfering," the Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week police closed an photography exhibit of of gays and lesbians before it was to officially open. (story)

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

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.

The weeklong pride celebration opened on Wednesday with openly gay British actor Ian McKellen in a video message calling the event a platform to make gay voices heard in the tightly controlled city state.

"It's very important that gay people, wherever they are, should identify themselves, stick up for themselves, represent themselves, modestly and positively, so the rest of the world knows that we're here and we're not going to go away," said McKellen, who is on an Asian tour with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Under the current 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