A clip of two men kissing in the background of a television newscast has gone viral in Singapore.

Channel NewsAsia, a Singapore-based 24-hour news channel, was covering the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at a Beijing bar when, two guys moved in front of the camera and started making out. 

A Sneaky Kiss And A Sassy Look

While the sneaky kiss and the sassy look one of the men gave the camera was fleeting, the moment has left a legacy in a country where public depictions of same-sex affection are censored and censured.  Under the code set by Singapore’s Media Development Authority, free-to-air content that “depict a homosexual lifestyle should be sensitive to community values. They should not promote or justify a homosexual lifestyle.”

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The moment has been edited out of the clip uploaded to CNA’s website. However, the moment can be seen in a TikTok video, which currently has over 1.3 million views. The video has also been widely shared on Weibo, a Chinese social media website. 

@starrie7777 they can’t censor the ending pose 😍🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️🌈#singapore #channelnewsasia #cna #lgbt #lgbtq #gay #gaykiss #slay #beijing2022 #winterolympics ♬ Unstoppable – Sia

Censorship Harms LGBTQI Singaporeans

According to Jean Chong, co-founder of queer women’s group Sayoni, “Singapore is considered a developed country, but we are really backwards when it comes to LGBT rights.”

Dr Sujith Kumar, a sociologist and co-founder of queer health group the Purple Alliance, said, “The censorship of LGBTQ topics and people continues to stigmatise and harm a significant number of Singaporeans. The policy is not pro-family as it sets LGBTQ people and their family members against each other, and it is not pro-health as it makes delivering comprehensive health and sexuality education difficult.”

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“LGBTQ people deserve to live safe and fulfilling lives without fear of harassment and discrimination, and they can’t do that if they’re not represented fairly. How are people’s minds supposed to evolve?”

Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code Criminalises Homosexuality

Senior Director of GLAAD Media Institute, Ross Murray, explained the importance of such a kiss. “This kiss, while a small action, is a breakthrough for the Singaporean LGBTQ community, who are still criminalized and censored in Singapore.

“Let this Olympian kiss be a call to strike down Section 377A of Singapore’s penal code, and end the criminalization of LGBTQ people globally.”

Section 377A, a holdover British colonial law, criminalises male same-sex sexual activity with up to two years’ imprisonment. While the Singapore government has repeatedly assured that the law will not be enforced, the continued retention of Section 377A — despite repeated court challenges — continues to affect public policy on LGBTQ issues, including media regulations and comprehensive sexuality education.

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