You have to be 21 to see gay rom com Love, Simon in Singapore – but Shape of Water fish sex fine for teens

Only over-21s will be permitted to see teen rom com Love, Simon in Singapore.

The country’s film censorship body, Media Development Authority of Singapore, gave the highest-possible age restriction to the gay film, which is getting love from audiences across the world.

While the film is listed as a 12A in the UK and PG-13 in the United States, only audiences over 21 will be permitted to see the teen film in Singapore after it was handed a R21 rating – which also precludes it from airing in most cinemas.

Fans hit out at the decision, pointing out at the ludicrous juxtaposition of restricting the film while giving a much lower rating to The Shape of Water, which features a mute woman having sex with a fish creature.

The Shape of Water was given an age rating of 16.

There are no sex scenes in Love, Simon.


Activist Thasha Monique Dharmendra started a petition to challenge the decision, which has already received more than 10,000 signatures.

Dharmendra wrote: “I realised that the movie Love, Simon has been rated R21 by the Media Development Authority of Singapore which I think is ridiculous as there is no sexual intercourse or violence involved.

“It’s just a harmless coming of age movie where the main character happens to be gay. I understand that the older generations are hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community thus leading to some younger generations to just follow suit.

“However, a young Singaporean teen struggling with their sexuality might find themself relating and finding comfort in this movie.

“By making Love, Simon NC16, I am positive that it will have a huge impact on young teenagers struggling to find acceptance from family and friends.

“It will also educate people that being free and accepted is just what everyone in this extensive community wants. Hopefully, it will also change people’s negative perception of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I personally know many individuals who are afraid of coming out and a movie like this will show them that they are not alone and that there is hope.

“You might think Singapore is a country where there a little to no LGBTQ+ teens, however, I assure you that they have just been overcome by the internalised homophobia this country has.”

Gay sex is technically still illegal in Singapore under an archaic British colonial-era penal code that is not routinely enforced.

LGBT people have almost no legal protections in the country and homophobia is rife, with strong opposition to equality from religious groups.

A church in Singapore last year sent an “alert” about the “homosexual content” of the new Beauty and the Beast film.

Ahead of the release of the film, Bishop Rennis Ponniah of Singapore’s St. Andrew’s Cathedral sent an “alert” to warn his congregation about the “homosexual content”.

“Disney films for children’s entertainment are usually associated with wholesome, mainstream values … [but] times are changing at a foundational level,” the statement from the Bishop reads.

“Parents are therefore strongly advised to provide guidance to their children about this remake … and indeed to their children’s entertainment choices in a rapidly changing age.”

The country’s government has previously sought to cut off international support for LGBT rights efforts in Singapore.

Related: Love, Simon’s Nick Robinson said his brother came out as gay during filming