Two situations involving the LGBT community happened recently. The first was the outburst against the Disney remake of the original cartoon “Beauty and the Beast” which included a purportedly gay character and the second was the Singaporean authority’s disallowing of foreign sponsors and entities from financially supporting any controversial and contentious events which will cause dissension here. In this particular case, it centred around foreign multinational corporations supporting Pink Dot. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/mha-says-foreign-sponsors-not-allowed-for-pink-dot-or-other-events-at-speakers-corner
Much Ado About Nothing: Beauty and the Beast
If you think about it, the whole controversy started in the States and with Disney themselves alerting the public that it was introducing the first gay character. The movie’s director, Bill Condon told Attitude, UK’s gay entertainment magazine that “one of the film’s characters, LeFou, who is played by Josh Gad, will have an ‘exclusively gay moment’ on-screen with villain Gaston (Luke Evans).” One is never quite sure whether it was an intentional promotional gimmick – controversy sells or just an attempt to caution homophobic audiences. Anyhow, the Christian right jumped right in with well-known evangelist Billy Graham’s son, Franklin warning and instructing Christians to boycott the movie. http://time.com/4691035/franklin-graham-beauty-and-the-beast-gay-character/ Question is how did he know about something that comes from a gay magazine which he supposedly opposes. Singapore Christians jumped on the bandwagon with the NCCS (National Council of Churches in Singapore) issuing a statement advising local Christians to do likewise. http://nccs.org.sg/2017/03/14/nccs-advisory-disneys-beauty-beast-14-march-2017/
What was intended to start a boycott turned out to
inadvertently encourage it…..
Unbeknownst to the right wingers, not only did it not stop their flock from flocking to movie houses (pun intended), it aroused the curiosity of even those who would otherwise not even intend to watch it, to now make a beeline for the cinemas. And by the way, those who watched the movie and focused all attention on identifying the gay moment were sorely disappointed. Many reported not even knowing when it took place.
What was intended to start a boycott turned out to inadvertently encourage it and Beauty and the Beast was so successful at the ticket office, becoming one of Disney’s most profitable gambles. Would this herald more gay characters appearing in Disney future projects? A gay Lion King, perhaps? Talk about irony.
For whom the bell tolls: Pink Dot
From its earlier days of 2,500 attendees in 2009 to an estimate of 28,000 in 2016, Pink Dot has become a bone of contention in ‘conservative’ Singapore. Many religious right wingers must have felt triumphant when the authorities announced last year just after the event, that foreign sponsorship of such public events would no longer be allowed without application which will most likely be turned down because of Pink Dot’s sensitive nature.
Without doubt, members and supporters of the event must have felt the blow in no small way. The question on everyone’s mind was – does that toll the death knell on Pink Dot?
But in the fashion of jaw dropping irony, organisers of Pink Dot announced recently that they had raised 70% of their target with 50 local sponsors, up from the 18 corporate sponsors last year. And the numbers are still climbing. What was expected to be a blow on the event turned out to be the impetus for local companies to step up and rise to the occasion in support of what they believe in.
And local support for Pink Dot is surely an indicator of support.
More and more locals are showing an ability
to move on from the dark ages and embrace a new reality.
This has not only stopped the authorities from being able to do anything, it has gone on to show that the local support towards gay rights is indeed increasing. And one of the things as suggested by the Prime Minister himself at a recent interview with Stephen Sackur from BBC (28 February 2017) concerning the repeal of 377A is that he is leaving until the time when “social attitudes change….” – looks like the government is leaving it to the people to decide when it will be ready to repeal 377A (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQIXa0tcvbI). Sounds like it is a number game. And local support for Pink Dot is surely an indicator of support. More and more locals are showing an ability to move on from the dark ages and embrace a new reality. Local corporate support for Pink Dot is a baby step but nonetheless a step in the right direction.
So what started off as a potential death blow has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. No wonder there are people who are thanking MHA for what they did last year.
And so as Alanis Morissette sings in her song, “…isn’t it ironic, don’t you think…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jne9t8sHpUc