Singapore to retain higher age restrictions on LGBTQ media content

Despite the recent repeal of 377A to decriminalise same-sex relationships

Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has announced that LGBTQ media content in the country will remain restricted despite the country’s recent repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code.

The MCI shared the news on Monday (August 22), per Variety. In light of Singapore’s repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which decriminalises same-sex relationships in the city-state, the MCI said that it “will continue to take reference from prevailing norms”, with LGBTQ media content to warrant higher age ratings.

Section 377A of the Penal Code was introduced in 1938. It grants a two-year jail term for individuals caught in “any act of gross indecency” between two men both in public or in private situations. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared the law’s repeal on Sunday (August 21).

However, following the country’s present Film Act, content containing “promotion of homosexuality” or “excessive depiction of sexual activity between individuals of the same gender” is not allowed. Singapore’s InfoComm Media Development Authority released a content code that looks over homosexuality in films to remain “sensitive to community values.”

“Films that centre on alternative sexualities may be classified at (the) highest rating of R21,” the code stated. “Non-explicit depictions of sexual activity between persons of the same gender may be featured at R21 rating.”

Meanwhile, movies with homosexual themes can be classified under M18 only if the content is “discreet in treatment and not gratuitous”, the code further stated.

In June, Singapore’s rating board limited Disney Pixar film Lightyear only to viewers aged 16 and above, noting a same-sex kiss as a depiction of homosexuality. The movie was also banned in 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, due to this scene.