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Singapore Bans Two Children's Books With Gay Characters

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Singapore libraries have withdrawn two children's books with gay characters, reports NPR.

In a Facebook statement, The National Library Board suggests that the subject matter of the banned books is incompatible with a “pro-family” stance:

"Young children are among our libraries’ most frequent visitors. Many of them browse books in our children’s sections on their own. As such, NLB takes a pro-family and cautious approach in identifying titles for our young visitors. In selecting children’s books, we sieve through the contents and exercise our best judgement. Parents can be assured that NLB is sensitive to their concerns and views, and their feedback."

The two banned books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about three straight couples and one lesbian couple who travel to China to adopt baby girls.

Homosexuality in Singapore is criminalized with two years in prison

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Prop 8 Supporters Lend Support To Singapore Leader Trying To Criminalize Homosexuality

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Jennifer Roback Mors (above) and Pastor Jim Garlow — two spokespeople for California’s Proposition 8 campaign who “remain highly connected to America’s ‘protect marriage’ movement” — have spoken at a Singapore conference whose head is fighting to keep a law criminalizing homosexuality with two years imprisonment.

KhongJeremy Hooper from Good As You writes:

The head of Love Singapore.org, Pastor Lawrence Khong, is the most vocal anti-gay activist in the nation… Khong wrote:

We see a looming threat to this basic building block by homosexual activists seeking to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.

Examples from around the world have shown that the repeal of similar laws have led to negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of the society. It takes away the rights of parents over what their children are taught in schools, especially sex education. It attacks religious freedom and eventually denies free speech to those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by increasingly aggressive homosexual activists…

Jennifer Roback Morse is the President and Founder of the Ruth Institute, an offshoot of the anti-gay National Organization of Marriage. In the past she has compared gay parenting to slavery, lied to the Rhode Island legislature about the “dangers” of marriage equality and gone on a quixotic one-woman quest to reclaim the rainbow back from the gays.

Jim Garlow, in contrast, once held a “gay marriage summit” at a San Diego megachurch in order to show that pro and anti-marriage proponents can disagree civilly.


The Gay Rights Push (And Push Back) In Southeast Asia: VIDEO

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For one day in June, the tiny city-state of Singapore brims with bright pink clothing, banners, and festivities to mark the annual "Pink Dot" gathering, a celebration in support of inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love. This year's celebration, the fifth such event, was the biggest so far; at 21,000 people it was the largest civil-society gathering in Singapore history.     

But for all Pink Dot's success, the Singapore government's official ambivalence regarding gay rights reflects a common hesitation among Southeast Asian countries when faced with this new notion of human sexuality. Like our own 50 state variety of attitudes towards LGBT rights, some Southeast Asian countries are beginning to take their first hesitant steps towards equality, while others seem to be reinforcing their disapproval of homosexuality.

Continue, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couple of 15 Years Challenges Singapore Law Criminalizing Homosexuality: VIDEO

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Gary and Kenneth, together for 15 years, are involved in a court appeal challenging Singapore's S377A, a constitutional statute that criminalizes homosexuality. They are raising funds for their case via Indiegogo.

"We shouldn't be treated as criminals just because of our sexual orientation."

Check out their video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Couple of 15 Years Challenges Singapore Law Criminalizing Homosexuality: VIDEO" »


New Gay Magazine Goes Online to Avoid Oppressive Attitudes, State Media Rules in Singapore

The publisher's of Singapore's Element magazine are hosting its website in the U.S. and selling it online only to get around oppressive social attitudes and media restrictions in the conservative southeast Asian nation, the WSJ reports:

ElementElement launches later this month, billing itself as the “voice of gay Asia.” Its first issue features interviews with dancers at gay clubs in Thailand and profiles of gay-friendly luxury resorts in Asia, keeping with the regional focus of the magazine. Advertisers already include fashion label Paul Smith, and Avalon, a glamorous nightclub at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino resort....

Published by Singapore-based independent media company Epic Media, the magazine aims to have 10,000 digital subscribers and possibly a Mandarin version to tap into the Chinese market next year.

Element is working around media rules in Singapore. Print magazines distributed in the city-state require a license through the government’s Media Development Authority, which regulates and censors media content. The online world, by comparison, is regulated with a “light touch,” circumventing many of the same license applications mandatory in printed content.

The bi-monthly magazine will only be available Apple and Android app storesa nd cost $1.99 an issue.


Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong Says Law Criminalizing Homosexuality Should Stay Because 'It's Always Been There'

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexuality, should just be left alone because society will never agree on it, Today Online reports:

LeeSpeaking at the Singapore Perspectives conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, Mr Lee was asked by a participant how the fact that the Republic is a secular country reconciles with “an old and archaic law that nearly discriminates against a whole (group) of people”.

In response, Mr Lee noted that in countries that do not criminalise homosexuality, “the struggles don’t end”. He cited the example of recent demonstrations in Paris by supporters and detractors of gay marriage.

“Why is that law on the books? Because it’s always been there and I think we just leave it,” said Mr Lee, adding that he had explained his decision in 2007 to retain Section 377A.

Lee added that it's not worth publically discussing polarizing issues like gay rights:

“These are not issues that we can settle one way or the other, and it’s really best for us just to leave them be, and just agree to disagree. I think that’s the way Singapore will be for a long time.”


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