Thursday, April 24, 2008

Singapore fines TV station for gay show

SINGAPORE - A Singapore television station has been fined for
airing a show that depicted a gay couple and their baby in a way that "promotes
a gay lifestyle," the city-state's media regulator said Thursday.

The Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV Channel 5 $11,000, it said in a statement on its Web site.

The station aired an episode of a home and decor series called "Find and Design" that featured a gay couple wanting to transform their game room into a new nursery for their adopted baby.

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 normalizes their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup."

The episode was in breach of rules on free-to-air television programming, which disallows content that promotes, justifies or glamorizes gay lifestyles, the statement said.

Earlier this month, the authority fined a Singapore cable television operator, StarHub Cable Vision $7,200 for airing a commercial that showed two lesbians kissing.
Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency," punishable by a maximum of two years in jail.

Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions. Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice.


Living in Canada, where gay marriage is legal and gay and lesbian couples can adopt children together, I sometimes forget that homophobia is still very prevalent in other parts of the world. We have many gay TV characters here in North America: from gay soap opera’s like The L Word to openly gay characters on drama’s like ER and no one seems to bat an eye. There have been gay TV characters as far back as the ‘70s. Surely you remember Jodie Dallas, played by Billy Crystal on Soap?

I do wonder what the future will hold for GLBT people around the world. Will homophobia one day be obliterated? Will my family be able to travel the globe, openly and freely without fear of persecution? What will life be like for Liam, growing up in a 2 mother household? So far we have not had any issues as a lesbian family. We have run into the occasional problem with forms only having spots for “Mother’s name and Father’s name” but even that is not very common any more as society shifts to “Parent 1 and Parent 2”. His school has several other GLBT families; we belong to a playgroup of GLBT families; we have books that show all kinds of families. So far, at age 5.5, it hasn’t fazed Liam at all.

As he moves through life he may encounter problems, but I’m very glad that we live in a country that will show gay families on TV, allow books in our libraries and where his mothers don’t have to hide their life style at the risk going to jail or worse.

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