Gay kiss on live TV escapes Singapore ban on LGBT content | Singapore

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It was a Singaporean report on the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, live from a Beijing bar full of eager fans. Yet it was two men – who burst into the camera’s field of view, sharing a dramatic kiss – who stole the show.

The clip has since gone viral in Singapore, where broadcast codes restrict content promoting LGBT “lifestyles” and where sex between men is prohibited.

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The kiss does not appear in a version of the report published by Channel News Asia (CNA) on its website. But on TikTok, a snippet of the kiss has been viewed more than 825,000 times. “This is actually an act of revolution,” wrote one user. It was also widely shared on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.

It was the look given by one of the men, who posed directly in front of the camera after the kiss, that caught many people’s attention, said a representative from Kaleidoscope NTU, a group formed by college students. Nanyang Technological University to raise awareness of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as gender, race and class.

“We don’t know who this guy is, of course, so we don’t know if he knew they were kissing for CNA in particular or just for camera in general. But the contempt of it, the joy that comes with being able to show off your partner, and the confidence of being able to be yourself as well, the combination naturally would have spoken to many queer people in the country as well,” they said. . .

China decriminalized same-sex relationships in 1997, but same-sex marriage is not legal there and the LGBTQ+ community continues to face discrimination and censorship.

Activists say the clip and the backlash it provoked illustrates how outdated Singapore’s laws are. “Singapore is considered a developed country, but we are really behind when it comes to LGBT rights,” said Jean Chong, co-founder of Sayoni, an LGBT rights organization.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore’s guidelines for free-to-air and subscription television state that films which “depict alternative sexualities, for example homosexuality, should be sensitive to community values”, and that films which promote homosexuality will be denied classification.

A content code for free-to-air radio services lists LGBT content alongside “pedophilia and incest”, indicating that programs referencing these “lifestyles” should be treated with the utmost caution. “Their treatment should in no way promote, justify or encourage such lifestyles,” he says.

Speeches by high-profile figures have been censored under broadcast rules, including Barack Obama’s 2016 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in which he hailed the host as a role model.

Benjamin Xue, co-founder of LGBT youth support group Young Out Here, said such censorship has failed to control media consumed by younger generations. Instead of watching free TV, young people were watching YouTube and online streaming services.

Young people’s attitudes have changed significantly over the 15 years of Young Out Here’s operation, he added. “They’re coming out a lot younger these days and a lot more confident in their identities — especially trans and non-binary youth,” Xue said.

Yet the gap between online media and local television, consumed by older generations, risked contributing to a growing division of opinion. “Their parents, grandparents and the rest of society don’t see the same goal,” Xue said.

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