Sir Ian McKellan has a message for Singapore’s government: repeal Section 377.
The British actor, who’s in the Asian nation starring in King Lear, released a video in which he explains his new found fondness for the former British colony.
In addition to extending love to Singapore’s lavender set, McKellan urges the government to overturn the archaic colonial law, which forbids homosexuality.
While there aren’t many prosecutions of gays, the country still writhes under discriminatory policies. For example, the government has just banned a photo show featuring gays and lesbians kissing. According to government officials, the show, called “Kiss and Tell,” “promotes homosexual lifestyle”. And obviously such “promotion” must be squashed”.
In a letter to the show’s organizers, media content deputy director Amy Tsang wrote:
Presently, homosexual content is allowed in the appropriate context but it should not be of a promotional or exploitative nature. The proposed exhibition … which focuses mainly on homosexual kissing is deemed to promote a homosexual lifestyle, and cannot be allowed.
Gay rights activist Alex Au describes Tsang’s letter as “absurd”:
It’s absurd to think that gay people do not also kiss, and that representation of such a reality would be subversive. There is a very stereotypical representation of gays and lesbians as deviants and I think it is important to correct the stereotype.
Part of Singapore’s gay pride celebration – cleverly entitled “Indignation” – the photos were meant to spread a loving, informative message of gay life.
Though the government won’t grant Kiss and Tell a permit, organizers intend to mount the exhibit elsewhere. Can’t keep a good gay down.