Singapore: Gay activist barred from giving TEDx talk

Rachel Yeo, the research and advocacy director of the Inter-University LGBT Network, told AFP she had been invited to speak at the TEDx event organised by St Joseph's Institution last week. 

Published: 25th July 2018 03:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2018 03:32 PM   |  A+A-

PrideMovement_EPS

File Image of a Gay Pride March for representational purposes. | Express Photo Services

By AFP

SINGAPORE: A Singapore gay activist said Wednesday she was barred from giving a TEDx talk at a prestigious school, sparking fresh criticism of conservative attitudes towards homosexuality in the city-state.

Rachel Yeo, the research and advocacy director of the Inter-University LGBT Network, told AFP she had been invited to speak at the TEDx event organised by St Joseph's Institution last week. 

TEDx events are independently organised under licence from TED Talks, which showcases lectures by influential figures from around the world that are widely streamed online. 

TED speakers have included former US president Bill Clinton and late British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.

But a day before the event at the independent Catholic school, the 23-year-old student said she was contacted by organisers informing her she could no longer participate due to education ministry regulations. The ministry has denied it had any involvement in the decision.

While Singapore is vibrant and ultra-modern in many ways, critics say that attitudes towards homosexuality remain conservative.

"This incident reminds us that there remains much work to be done to foster a truly inclusive society for all Singaporeans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity," said a statement from the Inter-University LGBT Network.

The organisation brings together groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The school said in a statement that speakers had been selected by students and the teacher in charge did not check before the list was finalised. Yeo was dropped after reviewing the relevance of speakers to the event, it said.

The education ministry said in a statement that it was "neither involved in nor informed about (the school's) deliberations on the... programme and selection of speakers".

Support for gay rights has been growing in Singapore, although activists say challenges remain. Sex between men remains technically illegal under a law dating back to British colonial rule, although the statute is not actively enforced. 

Foreigners have been banned from participating in the city-state's annual Pink Dot gay rights rally. The 10th edition of the event attracted huge crowds at the weekend.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp