More gay events banned in Singapore

PinkNews Staff Writer August 8, 2007
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While Pride celebrations are supported by government and police from Belfast to Vancouver, the LGBT community in the island nation of Singapore are having a more difficult time.

Following the bans on a gay photo exhibition and a gay poetry reading during Pride celebrations, the National Parks Board has banned a picnic and fun run from the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The third annual Singapore Pride festival began on August 1st and all the banned activities were to be part of a fortnight of events, including film screenings, forums and lectures.

Gay rights group People Like Us had planned a 5km fun-run and a picnic tomorrow in the Gardens, a popular attraction for tourists and residents alike.

The National Parks Board said it deemed the event to be political.

“It was never meant to be political, and this testifies to the paranoia of the government,” Pride organiser Alex Au told AP.

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

Earlier this month the city-state’s censors denied Pride organisers a licence for an exhibition of 80 shots of fully clothed, same-sex couples which they said “promote a homosexual lifestyle.”

Singaporean authorities have previously banned gay films and public displays of homosexuality.

Male homosexuals in Singapore face a maximum of two years in prison for gay sex.

Despite this there is an open gay scene, with pubs and saunas.

The government said last year that oral and anal sex in private between consenting heterosexual adults would be decriminalised under Singapore’s first major penal code amendments in 22 years.

However, the penal code which criminalises “gross indecency” between two males will remain, the government said.

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