Police refuse permit for public lectures on gays

  Agence France Presse
March 10, 2004

PLANS to hold public lectures on Singapore's gay community were scrapped after police said Wednesday, March 10, they had turned down the organizer's application for a permit.

"The license was rejected as the content was contrary to public interest," the police said in a statement.

Permission from the authorities is required for the staging of public events under Singapore laws.

Gay rights organisation People Like Us immediately condemned the decision not to grant the permit for the three-part "Lovers' Lecture Series" by the Fun Stage Group.

"This is extremely vague. How holding these talks would be detrimental to the public interest is not at all apparent," People Like Us said in a statement.

"By this action, the government indicates once again that they will deny gay people due respect, equality and civil rights even while they want gay Singaporeans and foreigners to make economic contributions to the civil service and private sector."

The first talk was to have taken place on March 6, ahead of a production of the Chinese language play, "Lovers' Words", by Taiwanese playwright Chiu An Chen in April.

The police announcement followed a recent warning by the industry regulator Media Development Authority to MANAZINE, a local men's magazine, to tone down its "homosexual elements" in recent issues.

In recent years the government of the still-conservative city state has signalled it was taking a more tolerant approach to the homosexual community.