Singapore’s first gay protest postponed to allow for bigger event

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A small outdoor protest for gay rights due to take place in Singapore next month has been postponed because of the positive response from the gay community.

The Straits Times reports that the event, a first for Singapore, has been postponed until early next year.

Organiser Roy Tan said he had taken the decision “to ensure that all interested parties – straight, gay and queer – have the opportunity to participate in this landmark occasion.”

Last summer a gay poetry reading during Pride celebrations was banned as was a picnic and fun run from the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The authorities also banned 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.

In October 2007 a senior government minister told the country’s Parliament that gay people have a place in Singaporean society but they cannot be part of the “mainstream way of life.”

Ho Peng Kee, a Law and Home Affairs minister, was responding to a motion tabled by MP Siew Kum Hong calling for the repeal of laws that make gay sex a crime.

The authorities have not brought anyone up on charges of gross indecency for several years.

The government has declared that private, consensual, adult homosexual sex would no longer be prosecuted but it remains illegal.

Prior to 2003, homosexuals were barred from being employed in “sensitive positions” within the Singapore Civil Service.

The city state of nearly five million people is renowned for its draconian legislation.

Chewing gum is illegal and the police keep a close watch on public behaviour.

In April the Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV £5,000 for featuring a gay couple with their adopted son, claiming that it “promoted a gay lifestyle.”

The authority said the episode contained scenes of the gay couple with their baby and the presenter’s congratulations and acknowledgment of them as a family unit “in a way which normalises their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup.”

The hit show, Find and Design, helps couples renovate a part of their home. In this particular episode the couple wanted to makeover their child’s bedroom.

Earlier in the year a cable television station were fined £3,500 for showing a commercial in which two women kissed.