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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.

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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."

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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.”


News: Iran, Lone Gunman, Rhode Island, 'The Gay All Black'

1NewsIcon From The Guardian, a first-hand account of growing up gay in Iran: "I struggled. I was sure that I was sick. I thought all these desires were unholy and sinful. I sought a thousand different ways to rid myself of these thoughts, but alas it was not possible. They were the inescapable desires of the body and the soul."

Nomfrance1NewsIcon Colton Brugger, the anti-gay activist who does the National Organization for Marriage's web work, designed the new webpage for opponents of equality in France. One can only assume that NOM, well aware they're facing a losing battle here, thinks their hateful ways will play better overseas.

1NewsIcon Justin Theroux looks dashing at the Calvin Klein Collection show in Italy.

1NewsIcon And here's Glee star Chris Colfer strolling around New York City.

1NewsIcon Beyoncé and Jay-Z reportedly spent $200,000 on their daughter's 1st birthday party, setting a very troubling precedent for their accountant.

1NewsIcon Destiny's Child will indeed perform during the Super Bowl half-time show.

1NewsIcon Sex and the City, drag edition.

Andrewrannells1NewsIcon An interview with gay actor Andrew Rannells about his roles on HBO's Girls.

1NewsIcon The United States is giving France tactical support in the country's battle against militants in Mali, a former French colony.

1NewsIcon Robert F. Kennedy Jr is convinced that his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated by more than one person: "The evidence at this point I think is very, very convincing that it was not a lone gunman."

1NewsIcon Writing in the New Zealand Herald, University of Auckland Business School professor Dr. Mike Lee opposes the campaign asking a closeted member of the All Blacks rugby team to come out: "If any All Black was to come out as a homosexual, he would probably be known as 'the gay All Black', rather than an exceptional rugby player and individual. And that could create exactly what human rights groups in New Zealand surely don't want - a step backwards to a time when sexual preference was more of a big deal."

1NewsIcon From Israel: "An Israeli gay couple married 10 months ago in New York has asked an Israeli family court to validate a spousal support agreement. Elad Aflalo Farber and Roni Farber Aflalo on Sunday asked the Ramat Gan Family Court to recognize their agreement -- the first time a legally married gay couple has done so, according to Haaretz. Previous recognitions of same-sex spousal support agreements involved common-law spouses."

1NewsIcon A great read: "The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings"

Rhodeisland1NewsIcon The Rhode Islanders United for Marriage coalition will hit the ground running on Monday as they lobby lawmakers and voters to get behind marriage equality in The Ocean State.

1NewsIcon Changing attitudes toward gay people in Singapore: "A nationally representative survey in the Southeast Asian city-state found that in 2005, 68.6 percent of adults had negative attitudes toward gay people, while 22.9 percent had positive views and 8.5 percent were neutral. By 2010, fewer adults in Singapore had negative attitudes toward homosexuals (64.5 percent), while more expressed positive attitudes (25.3 percent) or were neutral (10.2 percent), the survey found."

1NewsIcon Conservative Christians in Hong Kong protested new laws that would outlaw anti-gay discrimination there. Like their counterparts here in the States, they claim such legislation would impede their free speech rights.


Google Goes Gay, Globally

Yesterday, at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London, Google announced its new "Legalize Love" campaign, which intends to work with pro-gay grassroots organizations and small businesses in those countries where anti-gay laws are still on the books, and in which Google has a business interest.

Fron DOT429:

GaygleThe "Legalize Love" campaign officially launches in Poland and Singapore on Saturday, July 7th. Google intends to eventually expand the initiative to every country where the company has an office, and will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist. 

Google's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe outlined the initiative at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London earlier today. "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.

Google acknowledges that the Legalize Love campaign isn't entirely altruistic. Google's Mark Palmer-Edgcumbe notes that the company has, on several occasions, wished to place a highly skilled gay employee in a particular country, but couldn't because of that country's anti-gay policies. Palmer-Edgcumbe singled out Singapore for special criticism:

Singapore wants to be a global financial center and world leader and we can push them on the fact that being a global center and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation.


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