Scroll To Top

Singapore park
forbids gay rights picnic

Singapore park
forbids gay rights picnic

Singapore barred a gay rights group Wednesday from holding a picnic and fun run at a popular park, saying politics is not welcome in the country's green spaces.

Gay rights group People Like Us had planned a picnic at the downtown Botanic Gardens on Thursday and a five-kilometer run the following day as part of a series of activities marking gay and lesbian pride month.

The National Parks Board wrote to the events' organizer, Alex Au, to say the activities were not permitted by authorities, Au said.

''The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a premier botanical institution. We do not want it to be used as a venue for interest groups to politicize their cause,'' a board spokesman said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Established in 1859, the128-acre Botanic Gardens is a popular tourist attraction and venue for picnics, jogs, and outdoor concerts. The park features more than 10,000 types of plants.

''It is our policy to keep such activities out of our parks and gardens. Let's keep our green space as areas for relaxation and recreation,'' the spokesman said.

Au said the events were intended as social gatherings to commemorate the city-state's National Day, which falls on Thursday.

''It was never meant to be political, and this testifies to the paranoia of the government,'' Au said. ''They automatically assume that anything gay is a political challenge to them. It speaks volumes about the political climate in Singapore.''

The prohibition follows bans last week on a gay rights forum and an exhibition of photographs depicting same-sex kissing.

The curbs have come amid a debate in the modern, conservative city-state on whether gay sex should be decriminalized. Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed ''an act of gross indecency,'' punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions. (AP)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff