AP: Singapore Bans Gay Kissing Photos (Aug 1)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Singapore Bans Gay Kissing Photos

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

(08-01) 11:37 PDT SINGAPORE, (AP) --

Singapore's censors have banned an exhibition of photographs depicting gay men and women kissing, a gay rights activist said, calling the move "absurd."

The city-state's Media Development Authority denied organizers a license because the photographs "promote a homosexual lifestyle," Alex Au, founder of a Singapore gay rights group, People Like Us, told The Associated Press Wednesday.

The exhibition, entitled "Kissing," is a selection of 80 posed shots of same-sex kissing between fully clothed models, said Au, who shot the photographs.

"Kissing" was canceled after organizers received a letter from the Media Development Authority on Monday saying it was rejecting their application for a license to hold the exhibition, Au said. The media regulator confirmed in an e-mail that it rejected Au's application for a license to hold the exhibition.

"Presently, homosexual content is allowed in the appropriate context but it should not be of a promotional or exploitative nature," Amy Tsang, deputy director of media content, said in the statement. "The proposed exhibition ... which focuses mainly on homosexual kissing is deemed to promote a homosexual lifestyle, and cannot be allowed."

Tsang said, however, that authorities have previously allowed "brief same-sex kissing" in stage plays and adult-rated films.

The exhibition was part of "Indignation," a two-week gay pride series of forums, film screenings, lectures and other events that was scheduled to start later Wednesday.

"It's absurd to think that gay people do not also kiss, and that representation of such a reality would be subversive," Au said. "There is a very stereotypical representation of gays and lesbians as deviants and I think it is important to correct the stereotype."

Au added that in place of the canceled exhibition, organizers have planned a talk to be accompanied by a slideshow of the photographs. Indoor gatherings do not require police permits.

Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency," punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions.


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"Indignation," Singapore gay pride series: