Stars speak up for gay rights in Singapore

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

When celebrities speak, sometimes, people listen. That’s what some Singaporean stars were hoping for when they created a Public Service Announcement rap-type video to call for the repeal of an antiquated law which forbids same-sex relations in the country.

Laws established during colonial times have held that same-sex relationships could be punishable by fines and jail time.

Since Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s regime from 1959 to 1990, there has also been an open ban of gay films, art, theatre and public displays of homosexuality such as Pride events and gay sporting tournaments.

Lee, who remains a prominent figure in Singaporean politics, has since changed his tune about gays and is now advocating a repeal of some of the laws that make homosexuality illegal.

Last month, he helped sponsor a petition that would abolish laws forbidding oral and anal sex between consenting heterosexual adults.

To add to the proposal, later this month, Parliament member Siew Kum Hong will circulate second petition to repeal laws that make homosexuality a crime.

Openly gay Actor Sir Ian McClellan told Reuters, “Coming to Singapore where unfortunately you’ve still got those dreadful laws that we British left behind… it’s about time Singapore grew up, I think, and realised that gay people are here to stay.”

His statements prompted local celebrities to create the Youtube propaganda “rap” to take a stance against draconian laws and to get voters to get involved to help repeal law 377A.

Singapore is a country known for their ultra conservative laws and social activism is not very common in their society making the statements all the more compelling.

Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who seems to support the repeal, suggested that the fact that most of the celebrities in the video were straight would be helpful to the cause.

To watch the PSA click here.