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  1. Is it really safe? trump plans to ban it.
  2. In India, a Gay Prince’s Coming Out Earns Accolades, and Enemies Prince Manvendra’s journey from an excruciatingly lonely child to a global L.G.B.T.Q. advocate included death threats and disinheritance. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil outside his home in Gujarat, India, this month.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times By Shalini Venugopal Bhagat Published July 31, 2020Updated Aug. 1, 2020 NEW DELHI — Born into a royal family that once ruled the kingdom of Rajpipla in India, he was raised in the family’s palaces and mansions and was being groomed to take over a dynasty that goes back 600 years. But then he gave an interview that prompted his mother to disown him and set off protests in his hometown, where he was burned in effigy. Since coming out as gay in that 2006 interview, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil has faced a torrent of bullying and threats, and was disinherited by his family for a period. But he has also earned global accolades for his L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy, becoming one of the few gay-rights activists in the world with such royal ties. As part of his efforts, Prince Manvendra, 55, has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” three times, swapped life stories with Kris Jenner on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and is working to establish a shelter for L.G.B.T.Q. people on his property in the Indian state of Gujarat. He is also working with several aid agencies to prevent the spread of H.I.V. among gay men. Prince Manvendra and his husband, deAndre Richardson, have spent the last few months in lockdown getting the shelter ready. They envision a safe space where those who have been disowned by their families can get back on their feet and learn job skills. “I know how important it is to have a safe space after coming out,” the prince said. Although India abolished the princely order in 1971, the honorary titles are still commonly used for royal descendants, and traditional responsibilities are still carried out. Prince Manvendra at the Amsterdam Gay Pride festival in 2018.Credit...Shutterstock When the prince shared that he was gay in that front-page newspaper interview 14 years ago, it created a storm of mostly negative publicity. It was shocking for a member of an Indian royal family, especially one from the rigidly conservative Rajput warrior clan that once ruled over large parts of northern and central India, to come out so publicly. Being gay was a criminal offense in India under the archaic British law in effect at the time. The law was struck down in 2018. The fallout from his announcement was brutal, beginning with protests in his hometown, Rajpipla, where he was burned in effigy. His mother took out a newspaper advertisement to announce she was disowning him. The government offered him security after he received several death threats, but he turned down the offer and refused to back down. “I decided that I would continue fighting because I have truth on my side,” he said. Prince Manvendra playing the harmonium for his husband, deAndre Richardson.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times Prince Manvendra was born in 1965 to Raghubir Singh Gohil, the current honorary maharajah of Rajpipla, and Rukmani Devi Gohil, the daughter of the former maharajah of Jaisalmer. By that time, the era of fabulously rich Indian maharajahs had already waned. His great-grandfather’s ostentatious display of wealth, with stables of racehorses and garages filled with Rolls-Royces (nearly a dozen), was no longer welcome in a newly independent India where socialism, austerity and self-sufficiency were the new mantras. Although Prince Manvendra’s family no longer ruled a kingdom, the old ways still largely prevailed. He spent most of his childhood in his family’s seven-bedroom mansion in Mumbai, staffed by servants who had worked for the family for generations. He barely saw his parents and was raised primarily by the same nanny who had raised his mother. “Until I was 9 or 10, I thought my nanny was my mother,” he said. “I didn’t realize that the glamorous woman who appeared once in a while was actually my mother.” The lack of parental love still wounds him. “Why do parents give birth to children if they don’t want to take care of them?” he said. His childhood was excruciatingly lonely. His only friends were the birds and other animals he rescued as a young child. “I grew up with literally no friends, because I knew I couldn’t invite anyone home,” he said, because he was allowed to socialize only with children from a similar background. The prince at 2. He said his only friends as a young child were the birds and other animals he rescued. He earned a college degree in commerce and accounting and went on to complete law school, although he has never practiced law. In 1991, he married Chandrika Kumari, a princess from the royal family of Jhabua, a match entered into voluntarily, he emphasized. “I was attracted to men but I thought it was just a passing phase,” he said. “I had never been allowed to spend time alone with a girl, and sex before marriage was out of the question.” Being gay was not a possibility that ever crossed his mind, he said, because he knew nothing about it. “Once we got married, it became clear to me that I wasn’t interested in women sexually,” he said. “We were very good friends, we got along very well, but there was no sexual attraction.” The couple called it quits 15 months later, a split that caused an uproar in royal circles. After the divorce, he said, he was wracked with guilt and confused about his sexuality. He moved back to Mumbai, a 26-year-old divorced virgin, and started exploring his sexuality for the first time. “I started reading books and magazines. I saw an article about Ashok Row Kavi and his gay magazine Bombay Dost. I decided to get in touch with him and ask him if I could possibly be gay,” he recalled. Mr. Kavi is a father of India’s gay-rights movement. In 1977, he came out publicly and went on to found Bombay Dost, India’s first gay magazine, in 1990. He founded the Humsafar Trust, the first group to provide health services and advocacy for gay men, in 1994. Mr. Kavi introduced Prince Manvendra to other people in the community and trained him as a counselor. He remembers the young prince as a painfully shy introvert, who was slowly starting to become comfortable with his identity. He said the prince quietly funded the first telephone help line for gay people in India. In 2000, with Mr. Kavi’s encouragement, the prince started the Lakshya Trust in Gujarat to help the gay community there. The young prince with his parents, Raghubir Singh Gohil and Rukmani Devi Gohil, and his sister Minaxi in Rajpipla, India, in 1976. The work was fulfilling, but as a closeted gay man, the prince said, it became increasingly difficult to do the advocacy work needed for Lakshya. And there was growing pressure to remarry. After he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2002, his psychiatrist convinced him the first step in his recovery was to come out to his parents. It was the beginning of a long and bitter ordeal. “My parents were in an absolute state of denial,” Prince Manvendra said. “They declared that science must have a cure for my condition, a surgery perhaps or shock therapy to cure my ‘disease.’” But every doctor his parents consulted told them the same thing — homosexuality was not a disease or a mental disorder. His parents finally gave up on medical science and decided to try religion instead. For three years, they took him to dozens of religious leaders around the country. “Ashok told me to cooperate with them completely,” the prince said. “To let them be satisfied that they’d tried their best.” There were financial consequences to his coming out. He says that he was removed from several family businesses and that his mother threatened to persuade the government to cancel funding for the Lakshya Trust. “I finally reached a point in my life where I couldn’t take it anymore,” he said. “I decided to tell the whole world.” The couple at home.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times Over the past 14 years, the once-shy royal has grown accustomed to the spotlight and become a vocal activist for the gay rights movement. Apart from his work with the Lakshya Trust, he is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health and is an ambassador consultant of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “He was living a very troubled life, under a lot of pressure,” said Chirantana Bhatt, a close friend. “But now it’s a life of pride, in the true sense.” He has also found love. In 2013, he married Mr. Richardson, an American he met online in 2009, in the United States. The couple live on an estate in Gujarat given to the prince by his father. His modest brick house there is a far cry from the opulent palace of his ancestors, but he says he could not be happier. His father, the maharajah, acknowledged in an interview that it was difficult for the family to come to terms with his son’s sexuality and the constant media attention on the family. “But it’s his decision,” the maharajah said. His relationship with his mother remains frosty, but other members of the family have been supportive, he says. His grandmother, on her deathbed, expressed her happiness that he had found a partner to share his life with. Prince Manvendra is cautiously optimistic about the future. He is not sure if he will become the next honorary maharajah of Rajpipla. “I have left it to my family members,” he said. “I would prefer to keep working for my cause because the role of maharajah comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties that would divert me from my activism.” Prince Manvendra in front of the remains of his royal palace on the banks of Narmada in Gujarat.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times
  3. Chinese court rules in favour of transgender woman over wrongful termination in landmark decision The progressive ruling, which urged the public to be open-minded and inclusive, went viral this week in China A Chinese court has handed down a landmark decision in favour of a transgender woman who sued her employer for wrongful termination after undergoing sexual reassignment surgery. E-commerce company Dangdang has been ordered to resume its labour contract with Ms Gao, a product director, and to recognise her new gender identity, including allowing the use of female bathrooms at the office. The company must also pay her overdue salary of about 120,000 yuan (£13,600) to cover a two-month leave of absence for the procedure. Ms Gao’s case is the first time a Chinese court has directly addressed transgender workplace descrimination, issuing an “epic decision,” said Wang Yongmei, a lawyer who has worked on transgender discrimination cases. The progressive ruling, which urged the public to be open-minded and inclusive, went viral this week in China after initially falling under the radar amidst the coronavirus pandemic. “We are used to understanding society based on our knowledge of biological gender, but there are still some people who want to express their gender identities through their own life experiences,” the court wrote in its January decision. “It is necessary for us to gradually change our attitudes.” Everyone is entitled to “enjoy the right of equal employment without discrimination after their gender is changed through surgery and recognised by the public security bureau,” referring to the country’s police department where foreign and Chinese residents must register their personal details. Many “don’t even know the law can protect them,” said Ms Wang. But “cases like this can prompt serious discussion in society, and allow people to realise what being transgender really means, and the rights or protection they should have.” A Beijing court first ruled in Ms Gao’s favour last year, four months after she was dismissed in September 2018. Dangdang appealed, though the court upheld its original decision, released earlier this year – a surprising move in a legal and judicial system that typically favours the employer. Dangdang originally cited “mental health” and “absence from work” as reasons for dismissal, and claimed employees wouldn’t have “peace of mind” as both male and female colleagues had refused to share bathrooms with her. The official notice was submitted as evidence that Ms Gao’s contract was terminated on the basis of her sex. Dangdang didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Ms Gao couldn’t be reached as her identity has not been made public. Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/11/chinese-court-rules-favour-transgender-woman-wrongful-termination/
  4. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lta-corruption-case-bribes-former-deputy-group-director-12959834 Former LTA deputy group director charged with taking S$1.24 million in bribes, cheating colleagues Henry Foo Yung Thye, former LTA deputy group director, is accused of taking bribes and cheating colleagues. (Screengrab: YouTube/LTA) 24 Jul 2020 11:27AM(Updated: 24 Jul 2020 12:40PM)
  5. Mediacorp apologises for TV drama containing negative gay stereotypes Teng Yong Ping Lifestyle Editor Yahoo Lifestyle SEA13 July 2020 (From left to right) Actors Kym Ng, Benjamin Tan, Brandon Wong and Jin Yin Ji in Channel 8 drama My Guardian Angels. SINGAPORE — National broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for a TV drama containing negative stereotypes of gay people following a backlash from its viewers and the LGBTQ community. In response to social media posts criticising Channel 8 drama My Guardian Angels, Mediacorp said in a statement that it had no intention to disrespect or discriminate against any persons or community in the drama. “We are sorry if we have offended anyone or caused any distress. We have heard your feedback and will continue to exercise vigilance and be more mindful in our portrayal of characters,” said Mediacorp. Yahoo Lifestyle SEA first reported about netizens’ criticism of Channel 8 and Mediacorp regarding the Chinese-language drama on 3 July. The show features characters displaying homophobic behaviour, and a male paedophilic character who has a sexually transmitted disease. Mediacorp’s apology follows an earlier one from actor Chase Tan, who played the paedophilic character. Tan apologised for causing distress to the LGBTQ community because of the character. (See Tan’s full apology here.) Singapore’s broadcasting rules do not allow content that has positive portrayals of LGBTQ people or promotes “homosexual lifestyles”. Mediacorp apologised in response to criticism on social media that a Channel 8 drama perpetuated negative stereotypes of gay people. More The furore over the TV show began two weeks ago after gay business owner Teo Yu Sheng posted comments criticising the drama on the Instagram account of his queer brand, Heckin’ Unicorn. Teo, 29, highlighted storylines and scenes in My Guardian Angels, which he said promote false negative perceptions of the LGBTQ community. One character, a basketball coach played by Chase Tan, molests a teenage boy in one of the scenes. In a separate scene, another boy is shown as having sores, indicating that he is infected with a sexually transmitted disease by the coach. In other scenes, characters played by Kym Ng and Brandon Wong behave in a homophobic manner. The two actors play a couple in My Guardian Angels. Flak from LGBTQ community The 30-episode series, aired on Channel 8 in April and May, is still available for viewing on YouTube and Mediacorp’s streaming service, meWatch. The show also stars Zoe Tay, Pierre Png, Hong Ling, Chen Tianwen, Jin Yin Ji, Benjamin Tan, Edwin Goh and Fang Rong. Criticisms of the show’s homophobic scenes spread on various social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. Netizens have written numerous comments in the Instagram accounts of Mediacorp and Channel 8, calling for the company to apologise for causing harm and distress to the LGBTQ community. Chase Tan, and fellow actors Kym Ng and Brandon Wong were singled out by netizens for their roles in the TV series, which perpetuate negative perceptions of LGBTQ people such as gay men being sexual predators. They also pointed out that such depictions of queer people are not balanced by positive portrayals in local media. Calls for action beyond apology Commenting on Mediacorp’s apology, Teo said, “I’m glad that Mediacorp has finally mustered the courage to apologise, though it’s disappointing that it took them so long to do so. But an apology also isn’t enough; I hope that Mediacorp can pledge to stop creating negative portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community from now onwards. Taking real action is the only true form of apology.”
  6. Shin Min Daily News 新明日报 Man molest man! A middle aged man was charged for hiding in a male's toilet and subsequently molesting a 29 year old man. The molested 29yo man was using the toilet at HDB Hub Toa Payoh when he met the molester. The molester not only watched him from the opposite cubicle, and also molested his legs by touching them through the gap below the partition. The 29 year old man was shocked and ran out of the toilet immediately. This molest case occurred in 19 Nov 2004, at around 6:30pm at Toa Payoh HDB Hub. The molester was a 44 year old man named Hong Ya Sai. He is a computer promoter. He was charged this morning in court. Hong Ya Sai was wearing a blue T-Shirt and was medium built. He faced a charge for molestation and another for peeping. He is out on bail of S$12,000. The case will be adjoured to 24 Oct 2005. According to the courts, the molestation happened at the 3rd level toilet of Toa Payoh HDB Hub.
  7. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-phase-2-of-reopening-to-start-from-jun-19-social-12835758#.Xudba2KY8Rw.whatsapp Can socialize already. Og still below group of 5.
  8. This is a strange declaration by the Pope in a recent interview where he talked about gays in the clergy. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/02/gay-people-should-not-join-catholic-clergy-pope-francis-says No room for ‘fashionable’ homosexuality and gay priests should be ‘impeccably responsible’ or leave "Pope Francis is “concerned” about what he describes as the “serious issue” of homosexuality, saying in an interview published on Saturday that being gay is a “fashion” to which the clergy is susceptible. “The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates,” the pontiff said with regards to would-be priests. “In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church,” he says in the book The Strength of a Vocation, released in Italy on Saturday. “This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he says in the book, a transcript of an interview that will be released in 10 languages. A decree on training for Roman Catholic priests in 2016 stressed the obligation of sexual abstinence, as well as barring gay men and those who support “gay culture” from holy orders. The barring of people who present homosexual tendencies was first stipulated by the Catholic church in 2005. “It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out,” Francis said. “In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. “The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.” Gay clergy were urged to be “impeccably responsible” in a warning over bad behaviour that was notable for its silence on heterosexual clergy who break their vow of celibacy." I have always been a supporter of Francis and his progressive ideology. But to call homosexuality a "fashion" is kind of weird. Why isn't heterosexuality a "fashion" too?
  9. Grindr to remove ethnicity filter from gay dating app to support Black Lives Matter movement Straits Times 3 June 2020 SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Grindr plans to remove an ethnicity filter from the next version of its gay dating app in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Grindr said the change, which critics have long called for in the spirit of the platform being neutral when it comes to race, was prompted by feedback from users. "We will not be silent and we will not be inactive," Grindr said in a message posted by its official Twitter account. "We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform." The move came as the Internet was flooded with expressions of support for protests and demonstrations calling for an end to systemic racism in the US. Grindr dating app removes ethnicity filter to support Black Lives Matter Feature will not be part of app’s next release following accusations of hypocrisy Grindr long maintained that the ethnicity filter was useful for minority users who wanted to find people like themselves. Alex Hern The Guardian Published on Tue 2 Jun 2020 15.52 BST Grindr is removing an “ethnicity filter” from its dating app as part of its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, the company announced on Monday. The controversial feature, limited to those who stump up £12.99 a month for the premium version of the app, allows users to sort search results based on reported ethnicity, height, weight and other characteristics. In a statement posted to Instagram, the company said “We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of color who log in to our app every day. “We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform. As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.” Grindr’s filter had come under intense criticism over the weekend after a now-deleted tweet from the company that read “Demand Justice. #blacklivesmatter”. Many condemned the company’s show of solidarity as hollow when taken alongside the existence of a feature that allows users to explicitly discriminate based on race. The company has long maintained that the ethnicity filter was useful for minority users who wanted to find people like themselves, rather than enforce racism. “We decided before we were ready to pull the plug on that, it was a conversation we wanted with our user base,” Grindr’s head of communications told the Guardian in 2018. “While I believe the ethnicity filter does promote racist behaviour in the app, other minority groups use the filter because they want to quickly find other members of their minority community.” Grindr isn’t the only dating app which allows users to filter by race, but it is by far the most prominent. Racial discrimination on the app isn’t simply enforced algorithmically, either; a 2015 study of Australian users found that 96% had seen at least one profile that included some form of racial discrimination, ‘through language such as “Not attracted to Asians.”’ One in eight of those surveyed admitted they themselves included such language. The announcement came on the first day of Pride month, Grindr noted. “We can still come together in the spirit of Pride, but Pride this year has an added responsibility, a shifted tone, and a new priority that will be reflected in our programming – support and solidarity for queer people of color and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.”
  10. Crowds at Robertson Quay hang out & drink on day 40 of circuit breaker It's day 41 of the circuit breaker period, which means about two more weeks before this extraordinary period ends. But some are not going to wait that long even as the authorities have been urging people in Singapore not to be complacent in our collective bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. Crowd gathered at Robertson Quay A dozen or so people were caught sitting together and supposedly hanging out at Robertson Quay on Saturday, May 16 evening, according to a Facebook post by Lectress Pat. A few of those out and about were spotted without face masks. Lectress Pat wrote that there were no safe distancing enforcers present at Robertson Quay, even though there were two enforcers and one police officer at the park connector. One of the photos showed F&B establishments along Robertson Quay selling alcohol and some customers were hanging out outside a craft beer bar, TAP. Half-empty plastic cups of beer were left on the table as three individuals were chatting by the side. The post which has been shared over 1,500 times on Facebook has caused many to feel upset by the socially irresponsible behaviour, which were not caught by the enforcers. Forbid sale of takeaway alcohol at restaurants along Robertson Quay According to a Facebook post on May 17 by TAP, one of the Robertson Quay establishments, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had stepped in and that "there will be an immediate ban on the sale of alcohol, whether takeaway or delivery" for all restaurants along that stretch. While TAP did not state the reason for this sudden change in regulation, they added that "we have not been at any fault for the mess". The Robertson Quay outlet will also be closed until the end of the circuit breaker. TAP also wrote: "Unfortunately, difficult situations show us how selfish some can be and the rest of us will just have to deal with it." But the post has since been taken down. At 3.55pm on May 17, Tap put up a new announcement saying that the authorities have allowed them to do deliveries. In response to Mothership's query, the URA spokesperson said that the agency is aware of the online posts and articles of people congregating around restaurants in Robertson Quay. Majority of operators and individuals complied with safe distancing measures during their safe distancing patrol in that area, the statement added. The URA spokesperson also said that the agency has issued a written direction to cease the sale of takeaway alcohols at some restaurants as that has contributed to people gathering in the area. Here's the statement in full: Top photos by Lectress Pat/Facebook
  11. Out Of The Closet: Justin Foo Shares His Story Justin Foo’s experience as a signed artiste shines the spotlight on how queer public figures in Singapore are often forced back into the closet and pressured into putting up a ‘straight front’ if they want to make it in showbiz. That’s the response Henry Wilson (played by Jim Parsons) spits at Rock Hudson (played by Jake Picking), when the latter shows up on the red carpet with his boyfriend in one of the most show stopping scenes of the recent Netflix extravaganza, Hollywood. Now, Singapore is no Hollywood. But there are many parallels that can be drawn between Singapore’s entertainment scene and Ryan Murphy’s fantastical retelling of tinseltown. Race relations aside, anyone who wants to be anyone in Singapore showbiz is told to hide their sexuality. A fact that my next interviewee is very well aware of. Dear Straight People, Meet 30-year old Singaporean Justin Foo – chef, entrepreneur and all-around personality. If you find Justin’s handsome mug familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him on national television before. Not too long ago, Justin was signed to an artiste management agency. During his stint as an artiste, he rubbed shoulders on TV with some of Singapore’s biggest stars. All of that however, came with a price. Having been ‘out’ since he was 20, Justin found himself in a somewhat peculiar situation. People usually come out of the closet, not head back in. Justin first discovered his attraction to the same sex in secondary school. But he kept it to himself for fear of being outcast. It wasn’t till his National Service that he had his first coming out experience. Coming out to his family however, wasn’t quite as smooth sailing. When his sister noticed that his social circle was predominantly made up of men, she asked him point-blank if he was gay. His mum found out the very next day. A war of words erupted and tensions got so bad that Justin almost left home. Upon completion of his National Service, Justin worked as a chef first before opening his own gastro bar. It was during his stint as a restaurateur that stardom beckoned. His gastro bar eventually had to shut down due to various factors. But his time running the restaurant allowed him to connect with many people from the media. Justin scored a contract with a leading media agency, who had plans to groom him into a celebrity chef. The pursuit of stardom however, demanded sacrifices. Justin did as he was told. He deleted all traces of his partner from his social media accounts, and put on a ‘straight’ front in his public dealings. Being forced back into the closet however, took its toll on him. On one hand, Justin felt like a hypocrite for pretending to be straight. On the other hand, he felt like he let himself down by returning to the closet. It may have been a few years since Justin was told to hide his sexuality upon joining showbiz. But sadly, the situation has not changed much. Many of those seeking stardom have been observed to ‘clean up’ their social media accounts once they become a contracted artiste. Some have even had to rename, or even restart their Facebook and Instagram accounts. The LGBTQ+ community rarely outs one of their own. But in the world of social media, nothing ever gets truly erased. Traces of their ‘past life’ can still be found on forums and group chats. And so try as they might, the only closet they can possibly return to is a glass one. Returning to the closet may seem like a non-issue to some. But doing so perpetuates a vicious cycle of marginalisation. And for a community that have been marginalised for so long, being open about one’s sexuality is a powerful statement in itself. Especially if it’s a public figure with significant influence. But in a country that prioritises pragmatism over idealism, hiding in the closet will always seem like the smart thing to do. Most will not want to risk their rice bowl. And many will not see the need for it too. A peculiar byproduct of Singapore’s social climate, where gay sex is criminalised but not enforced. As a result, Singapore only boasts a handful of public figures who are ‘out’. Kumar and Ivan Heng are some names that spring to mind. Steven David Lim too, was notably featured in our ‘Out Of The Closet’ series last year, where his coming out story was groundbreaking enough to get picked up by other media outlets. The rest of Singapore’s LGBTQ+ celebrities however, continue to lead double lives. Justin and his partner, Sean. As for Justin himself, he eventually left the pursuit of stardom, and now functions independently. At the start of 2020, Justin embarked on a joint venture called Forkcast – a digital media platform specialising in food and lifestyle content. No longer pressured to put on a false front, Justin’s social media accounts are no longer ‘straight-washed’. Photos of his partner can be found peppered across his Instagram account, and he even took part in our Pride passion project last year. While Justin is no longer leading a double life, he understands the risk coming out poses to those still in showbiz. At the same time, Justin too believes in the importance of greater queer public representation.
  12. Updates on Miss Universe news before the actual Miss Universe 2018 event to be held tentatively in Macau at the end of the year. Let's discuss the winners of each national pageant, scandals, news and anything that is new to the Miss Universe Organization under IMG management.
  13. Share your tips on how to kill time and learn new skills! ~ Can be anything! Porn, skills cooking, wanking skills, games, health sports kamasutras etc etc. https://freerice.com http://m.ninjakiwi.com/android.html https://www.ted.com/talks
  14. Anti-gay backlash feared in South Korea after coronavirus media reports People fear being outed after media reports infected man visited gay clubs in capital Fears of a homophobic backlash and the forced outing of gay people are growing in South Korea after a man infected with coronavirus was reported in the media to have attended clubs in Seoul’s gay district. A 31-year-old man tested positive on Thursday and a further 14 of his contacts were on Friday confirmed to be infected with the virus. South Korea has won widespread praise for its “track and trace” model of containing the pandemic, which has used rigorous testing and isolation to reduce new cases to a handful a day – mostly from people arriving into the country – but not without privacy concerns. Members of the gay community said they fear efforts to out them after a major media outlet, Kookmin Ilbo, reported that the man had been in gay clubs in the capital’s Itaewon district. Some social media users then posted video footage from its bars and clubs, urging followers for donations “to help put a stop to these disgusting goings-on”. Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea but discrimination remains rampant, with most Korean gay people choosing to keep their sexuality hidden from family members and colleagues. “I don’t usually go to gay clubs and it’s been two years since I visited Itaewon [Seoul’s gay district],” Hong Yoo-jin, a 35-year-old IT worker told the Guardian. “But I read on gay community websites that Youtubers are joining gay apps to out gay men live. So myself and everyone I know have deleted our photos from all of our accounts.” Health officials say they have a list of 1,500 people who visited the clubs last weekend and authorities are asking anyone who visited the premises to get tested. A 37-year-old IT engineer using his regular pseudonym, Jang Ji-myung, said he had been at three of the clubs after months of staying away but feared for his job if he was tested. “The company where I work is a regular Korean company, which means they are very anti-gay. I have taken part in conversations where my boss and colleagues said all gay men should be put to death in a gas chamber,” he said. “If they find out that I was at a gay club, they would most likely tell me to leave under some other pretext or make my life there a living hell so I would have no choice but to leave. “I’m extremely worried if I’m infected but I can’t come forward to get tested because I don’t want to lose my job. I don’t care that much about getting the virus as I’ll most likely be treated and get better eventually but I don’t know if I’ll be able to take the social and professional humiliation that would come with getting found out.” Kwon Joon-wook, the deputy director of central disaster and safety countermeasures headquarters, asked the media to keep to the guidelines when reporting about infected people and to protect their privacy, but did not refer to the Kookmin Ilbo report.
  15. High Court judge dismisses all three challenges to Section 377A The men mounting challenges to Section 377A, and their lawyers. (Photos: Facebook/Remy Choo Zheng Xi, Ching S. Sia, Facebook/Roy Tan) By Lydia Lam 30 Mar 2020 03:14PM(Updated: 30 Mar 2020 03:30PM) SINGAPORE: Three men have failed in their challenges against Section 377A of the penal code, after a High Court judge dismissed their court actions against the law that criminalises sex between men on Monday (Mar 30). Justice See Kee Oon will release his full judgment grounds at a later date, lawyers told CNA outside the chambers shortly after the decision. According to Section 377A of the Penal Code, any man who commits any act of gross indecency with another man in public or in private can be jailed for up to two years. This extends to any man who abets such an act, procures or attempts to procure such an act. The verdict was delivered in chambers, four months after arguments were made by the lawyers for the three men: Disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming, retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee and Bryan Choong Chee Hoong, the former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga. Mr Tan's lawyer, M Ravi, spoke to the media after the hearing, saying that he is working with a team to study the prospects of appeal. He said the decision was "astounding" and "utterly shocking" because "you still criminalise these people". Mr Ravi had argued on behalf of Mr Tan that the "absurd and arbitrary application" of the law is a violation of the Constitution as all gay and bisexual men are obligated to report their consensual private sexual acts to the police. This is "incongruous with the so-called non-proactive enforcement of Section 377A", said Mr Ravi, who also argued that this law infringes the right to equality, life, personal liberty and expression. Mr Choong's lawyers, led by Senior Counsel Harpreet Singh Nehal, had argued based on new historical material that was not available during a 2014 appeal. They pointed to recently declassified documents demonstrating that the introduction of Section 377A in 1938 was to criminalise "rampant male prostitution" when Singapore was under British colonial rule. Mr Ong's lawyers, helmed by Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, put forth expert scientific evidence on the nature of sexual orientation, arguing that homosexuals cannot wilfully change their orientation and that Section 377A is discriminatory and violates the Constitution. The Attorney-General's Chambers had maintained that Section 377A serves a "legitimate and reasonable" state interest, "regardless of whether and how it is enforced". They said the issue was "a deeply divisive socio-political" one that should instead be decided by Parliament, as the latter comprises democratically elected representatives accountable to Singaporeans.
  16. Pete Buttigieg is the Mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana, US. He is 36 y.o. and gay, and has announced his candidacy for president of the United States. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/pete_buttigieg-36-year-old-mayor-south-bend-indiana-2020-713662/ Not only this, but he is MARRIED. Here is a video of his marriage to his partner in an Episcopalian church: (a rather lengthy video, but worth to jump around to see the marriage of two gays... in a Church! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CR30N-dieg Will the US accept a president that is GAY, married to another GAY, only 36 y.o. and with quite a progressive agenda? If so, the world will never be the same for us! We will see! After all, the US elected a black president already. .
  17. https://the-singapore-lgbt-encyclopaedia.wikia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_against_LGBT_people_in_Singapore Hate speech against LGBT people in Singapore In Singapore, the Sedition Act not only prohibits seditious acts and speech which undermine the administration of government but also criminalises actions that promote feelings of ill will or hostility between different races or "classes of the population". Despite the statute's statement that it protects all segments of society, which by right should also include the LGBT community, it has mainly been used against individuals who have made offensive rants against the Malay-Muslim community. The LGBT community has not been accorded any shelter under this law and hate speech against it is constantly indulged in with impunity. Section 298 of the Penal Code makes it an offence to utter a word within hearing distance of a person, with the deliberate intention to wound that person’s religious or racial feelings. The penalty is a jail term of up to 3 years, a fine, or both. Section 298A similarly criminalises the promotion of enmity between different religious or racial groups and carries an identical punishment. No such protection is given to the LGBT community. This glaring inconsistency was highlighted in a comic strip drawn in 2015 by openly gay cartoonist Otto Fong: Progress in protection against anti-LGBT hate speech Main article: Explanatory Statement to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act See also: K Shanmugam's views on homosexuality In 2019, the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) was amended by Parliament to protect both religious groups as well as non-religious ones, like the gay community. An Explanatory Statement to the MRHA, passed in Parliament in the first week of October 2019, was added to the Act and specifically referred to the LGBT community, stating that it would be an offence to use force or violence against it on the grounds of religion[1]. It was supposed to do so by dealing with both groups equally as the new provisions were meant not only to reduce conflicts between and within religious groups, but also to prevent religion from being used as a basis to attack groups that may not be of a religious persuasion, such as the LGBT community[2]. However, in practice, no action has been taken against most instances of online hate speech. Anti-LGBT groups Main article: Singapore anti-LGBT organisations In stark contrast to the fact that all groups against any race, religion or minority are banned in Singapore, the Government allows anti-LGBT organisations to flourish. Most of the hate speech against the gay community that can be read by the public surfaces on Facebook groups such as We are against Pinkdot in Singapore[3], Ban Pink Dot & LGBT Activism - Protect Children[4] and Singaporeans Defending Marriage & Family[5]. Many comments made below online news articles, especially those on Yahoo! Singapore, are also virulently anti-gay, abetted by the posters' sanctioned cloak of anonymity. Instances of anti-LGBT hate speech Pastor Rony Tan's comments during sermon, February 2010 Main article: Pastor Rony Tan's anti-gay sermon saga Barely two weeks after being called up by the Internal Security Department (ISD) for his insensitive comments on Buddhism and Daoism[6], another objectionable 80-minute video, uploaded in May 2009, was noted on the the homepage of the 12,000 strong megachurch Lighthouse Evangelism at www.lighthouse.org.sg. It featured then 33-year old Pastor Rony Tan making comments during a sermon like, "Proper sex means life - it propagates life. Lesbianism and homosexuality simply mean death and barrenness.”[7]. He also quipped, "If you allow [homosexuality], next time people will want to get married to monkeys. And they will want rights. They’ll want to apply for HDB. With a donkey or a monkey or a dog and so on. It’s very pathetic.”[8]. The video attracted the attention of the public with local filmmakers Royston Tan and Sun Koh among a total of 85 people lodging a police report over the long Chinese New Year weekend against the pastor for his remarks[9],[10],[11]. It was removed from the church's website one day after the pastor apologised to Buddhists and Daoists for denigrating their beliefs in the second week of February 2010. Bryan Lim's "open fire" comments, 4 June 2016 Main article: Bryan Lim anti-gay hate speech saga On 4 June 2016, a Facebook user Bryan Lim, then 37 years of age and a regional performance consultant at Canon, commented on the anti-LGBT Facebook group We are against PinkdDot in Singapore saying, “I am a Singaporean citizen. I am a NSman. I am a father. And I swore to protect my nation. Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes”[12]. He was commenting on the hate group's post entitled, ‘Say No to Foreign Intervention‘. Lim was fined $3,500 by the High Court on Friday, 4 November 2916[13]. He was initially charged with making an electronic record encouraging violence against LGBT people, which would have landed him a maximum of five years' jail and a fine. However, he pleaded guilty to an amended charge of making a threatening, abusive or insulting communication under the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA). District Judge Low Wee Ping said the aggravating factor was his use of the words "open fire" and "die for their causes". Yahoo! article, 20 December 2019 The following comments were made below a Yahoo! article entitled, "Disney cuts same-sex kiss scene in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker for Singapore market" published on 20 December 2019[14]: Microaggression Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalised groups like the gay community. Although falling short of being hate speech, it nonetheless can be detrimental to an LGBT person’s psychological health and may lead to chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and lowered self-esteem. Microaggressions occur in three distinct ways: Microassaults are conscious, deliberate forms of discriminatory practice that are intended to harm, and most closely resemble traditional forms of discrimination. Examples of microassaults would include intentionally calling a person who identifies as a sexual or gender minority a derogatory slur (eg. ah kua, bapok, pondan, faggot) or telling a trans people that they cannot use a multiple-stall restroom or rejecting their entry into a multiple-stall restroom when they try to use one. An example of institutionalised microassault is the existence of Section 377A of the Penal Code whereby the State imparts to society and to gay men the conviction that homosexuals are criminals for indulging in sex even when it is consensual, between adults and done in private. Another is the messaging put out by religious organisations which conduct conversion therapy like the Choices ministry at the Church Of Our Saviour and truelove.is[15] that tell gay individuals they are "broken" and that they can "come out" of their sexual orientation to become straight. Microinsults include snubs, gestures, and verbal slights. Examples are: 1) Asking a gay man during Chinese New Year or other holiday when he is going to find a girlfriend or get married. This insinuates that he is deficient in some way because he does not have an opposite-sex partner or that he is irresponsible for not getting married and producing children. 2) Asking someone in a gay or lesbian couple who plays the "man" or "woman" role in the relationship. 2) Asking a gay friend after a long hiatus whether he has a new boyfriend, implying that gay relationships are inherently fragile or that homosexuals are promiscuous. 3) Using the phrase “that’s so gay” to refer to something stupid, odd, or undesirable, which is often considered insulting and hurtful. 4) Asking a transgender person about their gender reassignment surgery. Finally, microinvalidations serve to exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of certain groups. An example of a microinvalidation would be assuming that all gay individuals had a difficult experience “coming out,” which is defined as the process through which one acknowledges and accepts one’s own sexual or gender identity to their families. Another is telling a young gay person that his same-sex attraction is just a phase and that he will grow out of it.
  18. Conversion therapy can result in mental illness, poll finds Attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation result in high levels of mental health problems including suicide attempts, self-harm and eating disorders, according to a survey. Some respondents said they had been forced to undergo “conversion therapy”, and a handful said they had been compelled to take part in sexual activity with someone of the opposite gender. The survey on faith and sexuality, conducted by the Ozanne Foundation, which campaigns for LGBT+ equality, will be presented to members of the Church of England’s synod, the C of E governing body, which is meeting in London this week. Read more in the article above ———————————— For what it’s worth, it’s clear that conversion therapy, whether with religious context or not, is problematic. There should be consideration to outlaw such practices if there are cases made public.
  19. The recent death of former US president George W. Bush is burying the US under an avalanche of eulogizing of the famous man. Here is an article that is a little less flattery of the man, who held back on an adequate response to the AIDS epidemic. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-george-hw-bush-lgbtq_us_5c0366ffe4b0606a15b5efa7 The Media Is Erasing George H.W. Bush’s Catastrophic Harm To LGBTQ People It’s no surprise that after the death of former president George H.W. Bush we’re seeing media pundits, advocates and popular historians promote a rosy view of his tenure as president. In the era of Donald Trump, there’s a tendency to portray every Republican leader of the past in a nostalgic, sugar-coated way. The first thing that caught my eye was a report on CNN’s website that included a tweet from the president of Covenant House, a charity that runs shelters across the U.S. for homeless youth and which has a historical connection to the Catholic Church. The tweet included photos of the former president and the late first lady Barbara Bush hugging children, implying that Bush was an important advocate for people with AIDS. Perhaps that was what Bush “believed,” but it was far from the truth. Bush was as captive to the evangelical right on social issues — and thus a decidedly Republican president — as was his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, who cultivated religious conservatives as a potent political force and bowed to their anti-LGBTQ agenda as the AIDS epidemic mushroomed in the 1980s. Reagan’s history of callously ignoring the epidemic while thousands died is well-documented. Bush, at the outset of his term, promised a “kinder, gentler” presidency than the man he’d served under as vice president. He even gave a speech on the AIDS epidemic in 1990, which was long on compassion but short on strategy and commitment to funding. During the speech, in fact, Urvashi Vaid, an invited guest and then the executive director of the prominent National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, now the National LGBTQ Task Force, took the unprecedented and heroic act of standing up and holding a sign, “Talk Is Cheap. AIDS Funding Is Not.” Bush, in the end, bowed to the same extremists Reagan did when it came to AIDS and LGBTQ rights. As The Washington Post noted, Bush allowed evangelicals to mature as a movement within the GOP after Reagan brought them in, rather than pushing back.
  20. Johnson Ong Ming aka DJ Big Kid files judicial challenge against Section 377A Penal Code. Page 8, mypaper 12 September
  21. Truly the gay wedding of the year
  22. Musk Ming paints Chinese men in suggestive poses. Delicate ink-formed faces stare longingly from the paper, their lean bodies dressed in green caps with red stars. Some wear white and navy sailor hats with ribbons. Others are cloaked in olive coats with brown faux fur collars. The men may not be wearing much, but the accoutrements of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) are unmistakable.' For Ming, born and raised in China but living in Berlin since 2005, the risqué motif of homoerotic PLA soldiers came naturally. "Expectation" by Musk Ming. Credit: Musk Ming "I paint what interests me -- and from personal experience," said the 40-year-old gay artist, who uses "Musk Ming" as a pseudonym. He grew up in a military compound in northern China and attended a Chinese naval academy before moving to Germany. "The soldiers I saw were the ideal men: young, innocent ... and beautiful." That's hardly how China's strictly controlled state media described uniformed men in its recent exhaustive coverage of the country's grand military parade, which marked the 70th anniversary of Communist rule. On October 1, millions of Chinese viewers watched an all-powerful President Xi Jinping approvingly inspect 15,000 PLA troops -- mostly young male soldiers with chiseled faces and fierce looks -- as they goose-stepped through the center of Beijing, followed by columns of tanks, missiles and drones. Chinese soldiers shout as they march in formation during a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images Underscoring the soldiers' physical and mental toughness, adulatory news reports detailed every aspect of their selection and training for the grandiose display of Chinese military might. The vast chasm between Ming's work and the images shown in state media perfectly illustrates a heated debate in China about what constitutes the image of the "ideal man." It's a conversation unfolding as the ruling Communist Party's cultural czars tighten their grip over the country's creative sector by, among much else, regulating the on-air appearances of male celebrities, from movie stars to boyband members. Depicting masculinity in art In discussions about masculinity in China's heavily censored cyberspace, a consensus often emerges on the gold standard of an ideal Chinese man: the PLA soldier. It's a sentiment that experts say has been reflected in art throughout the history of the People's Republic, which was founded in 1949 by Mao Zedong following the Communists' triumph in a bloody civil war. From vintage propaganda posters to slick new music videos, images of PLA troops have long shaped modern Chinese perceptions of masculinity. The soldiers' strong bodies and minds are touted as the ultimate male virtues, along with their fierce loyalty to the party -- qualities that some say Xi eagerly wants to promote as he vows to lead China into a great "national rejuvenation." Propaganda poster decpits a People's Liberation Army soldier holding Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book." Credit: GraphicaArtis/Archive Photos/Getty Images For the first three decades of Communist rule, artistic depictions of Chinese men were dominated by heroic portrayals of PLA soldiers and, to a lesser degree, farmers and industrial workers -- two pillars of the proletariat class. Although some of the genre's works were created with ink, in a traditional Chinese style, the majority comprised neoclassical oil paintings or watercolors by artists who either studied overseas or were influenced by Western trends, according to You Yang, deputy director of the Beijing-based UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. Neoclassical art, which traces its origin to ancient Greece and Rome though it rose to prominence in 19th-century Europe, is known to feature male protagonists with accentuated muscles striking gallant poses. After 1949, Mao made it clear that "all artwork must reflect the leadership of the Party and the will of the state," said You, explaining that neoclassicism found fertile ground in Communist societies -- first the Soviet Union and then China -- where artists used the style to fulfill their political duty of worshipping war heroes or strongman leaders. Beijing residents pass by a huge poster depicting two workers and one soldier. The poster reads, "Workers, peasants and soldiers are the principal force in the fight against Lin Biao and Confucius" in May 1974. Credit: AFP/Getty Images The oil painting "Forcibly Crossing the Dadu River" is one oft-cited example in this category. Illustrating a turning point during the Red Army's famous Long March in the 1930s, the unknown artist depicted 10 young soldiers on a small boat as they charged toward enemy fire. Their tanned, sinewy arms in various states of motion, half of the soldiers row the vessel against rapid currents and high waves, while their comrades point their guns at the banks -- a moment in time, captured before Communist troops clinched what they have since described as a miraculous victory against a bigger and better-armed enemy. "Forcibly crossing the Dadu River" by unknown artist. Credit: via HSWH Such portrayals of male characters and historic victories reached their peak during the decade-long Cultural Revolution that Mao launched in 1966. In paintings, as well as on stage and on screen, all protagonists -- who were almost always men -- had to be "red and bright" to highlight their revolutionary credentials and heroism. The result was an inevitably politicized masculinity, said You, represented by military men with sharp jawlines and muscular arms. Throwing their clenched fists into the air as they vowed to defeat the enemy, these heroes were devoid of any hint of sexuality, in line with the party's puritanical moral code. A Chinese Cultural Revolution poster encourages people to exercise in the "big ocean," a metaphor for a large challenge. Credit: David Pollack/Corbis Historical/Corbis via Getty Images Mao's death in 1976 spelled the end of the Cultural Revolution, but the now-entrenched public perception of masculinity persisted despite growing diversity in artistic depictions of men -- a trend that began with the display of male subjects in more vulnerable emotional states, ranging from angst to melancholy. 'Little fresh meat' In a country now boasting more than 800 million internet users, the ideal aesthetics of the PLA soldier are being challenged by a new generation that increasingly looks to young celebrities -- and their social media presence -- for cues on what it means to be a man. This includes some of the country's most bankable young entertainers, including singer-actor Lu Han, who appeared alongside Matt Damon in the 2016 action film "The Great Wall" and has more than 60 million followers on Chinese social media platform Weibo, and boyband TFBoys, three teenage heartthrobs estimated by local media to be multi-millionaires. Actor Yang Yang pictured backstage at Majestic Hotel in Cannes, France. Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Europe Dubbed "little fresh meat" by domestic media for their boyish features and popularity, many of today's young male celebrities put on makeup, dye their hair bright colors, accessorize and sport androgynous clothing. Like South Korean K-pop stars, they boast slender figures and often wear cutesy expressions. In a report released early this year, the online shopping platform of Chinese tech giant Alibaba found sales of men's cosmetic products jumped more than 50% in 2018, naming the popularity of "pretty boys" as a reason. But after a period of social liberalization in the post-Mao era, there are signs that Xi's government is beginning to turn against male role models deemed too effeminate. A widely cited commentary, published last year by state-run Xinhua news agency, said: "Whether a country embraces or rejects (effeminate men) is ... a grave matter that affects the nation's future." Actor and singer Lu Han performs at a New Year's countdown party in 2016 in Shenzhen, China. Credit: VCG/Visual China Group/Visual China Group via Getty Ima Focusing its ire on wildly popular male idols, the article blasted the "sickly aesthetics" that had propelled "gender-ambiguous, heavily made-up, tall and delicate" young men to stardom on television and online. "The phenomenon of 'sissy men' has caused a public backlash because the impact of such sickly culture on the youth cannot be underestimated," it said. "When critics say 'sissy young men turn a nation sissy,' they may sound somewhat facetious," it added. "(But) nurturing a new generation that could rejuvenate the nation requires the resistance of erosive unhealthy culture."  Following Xinhua's lead, other Chinese media outlets have published blistering editorials and commentaries criticizing male celebrities who appear effeminate. Roy Wang Yuan of TFBoys performs his first solo concert at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center in August 2019. Credit: VCG/Visual China Group/VCG via Getty Images There have also been user-generated online campaigns calling for some celebrities to be banished from the country's airwaves and internet platforms because of how they look. The government also seems to be tightening restrictions on what is seen on screen. Earlier this year, China's major video-streaming platforms began censoring male actors' earrings, blurring their earlobes. Incidentally, the ban came after censors prohibited the depiction of same-sex relationships on television and online, along with a wide range of what China calls "vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content" that also includes incest and one-night stands. Some targeted celebrities, including TFBoys, have responded to critics by ditching cosmetics and flowery wardrobes in favor of showing toned muscles in photo shoots. Another trend has been the launch of a growing number of so-called "masculinity programs" aimed at instilling traditional gender roles in boys and young men through outdoor sports and classroom training. Last year, one such club in Beijing attracted attention -- and some criticism -- for having its students run shirtless in the dead of winter. "There is a crisis in boys' education and I threw myself into practical actions to save them and help them find their lost masculinity," the Boys' Club founder told the South China Morning Post. "'Sissy men' are under attack because they are perceived to be challenging the traditional notion of manliness," said Fang Gang, an associate professor at Beijing Forestry University whose research focuses on gender studies and sex education. Fang points out that, ironically, the current controversy is partly due to recent progress made by sexual minorities in China. Activists say a nascent but increasingly visible LGBTQ rights movement is slowly changing hearts and minds, encouraging greater social acceptance. "Some parents extend their worries about perceived gender-neutral appearances by linking it to homosexuality," he said. "Greater social acceptance of the gay community has only deepened fears among homophobic people, making them more anxious and afraid of non-mainstream masculinity." Others suspect a more direct link between the crackdown on "sissy men" and top officials' worldviews, which for many were shaped during the Cultural Revolution.  The strongman President Xi's attitude towards masculinity may trace back to his youth, which, from the late 1960s to mid-1970s, was spent in the Chinese countryside along with as many as 17 million other high school students and graduates. They were part of the "sent-down" generation relocated to the country's far-flung corners to learn agricultural and political lessons from poverty-stricken peasants. "In the summer, I was almost sleeping in a pile of fleas -- all the bites and subsequent scratching turned my whole body swollen," he wrote in 2002. "But after two years, I became used to it and could sleep through the night no matter how much I got bitten." Chinese men in military uniforms reading from Mao's "Little Red Book" before starting their day. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images The Chinese leader's definition of manliness also has a political dimension. During a meeting with officials in southern China just months after taking power, Xi reportedly lamented the lack of strong convictions among Soviet communists when their party was on the verge of collapse. He was widely quoted by overseas Chinese-language media as saying that: "In the end nobody was a real man, nobody came out to resist." Xi's government seems determined to resist the perceived feminization of Chinese men through regulations and propaganda. In a sign of a tightened political environment, artist Ming was reluctant to acknowledge the sensitivity of his art, which includes an almost-naked portrayal of the iconic PLA soldier from the Cultural Revolution-era opera "Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy." "Strength is needed -- with muscles -- for militaries, revolutions and the proletariat, which means manual labor," said Ming. "But in traditional Chinese art and literature, male beauty is about being delicate, pale and pretty," he added, pointing to a contradiction in the way men have been depicted through history. "I paint from a Chinese perspective -- and my work is on a continuum of Chinese aesthetics," he said. For now, Ming's website remains blocked in China and the artist doesn't foresee his work being exhibited in his home country anytime soon. The cultural tradition that inspired him appears increasingly incompatible with the muscular strength appreciated and projected by the Chinese leader at home and abroad. "Tiger Mountain" by Musk Ming. His paintings combine the traditional ideal man in Communist China -- the PLA soldier -- with homosexuality, which remains a taboo subject. Credit: Musk Ming Last year, China's largely ceremonial parliament endorsed a constitutional amendment scrapping presidential term limits and paved the way for Xi, 66, to stay in power indefinitely. Nevertheless, Ming anticipates an eventual change of guard in leadership -- and the impact it could have on cultural attitudes. "The older generation finds it harder to accept new things ... it applies to not just 'sissy men' but many other things," he said. "I think we need time." Source: http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/china-masculinity-intl-hnk/index.html Musk Ming's website: http://www.muskming.com/
  23. Tumblr, July 4, 2012—Independence Day. A week before the release of Channel Orange, the debut studio album that cemented his mainstream success, Frank Ocean traded liner notes for a Tumblr note. “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too,” he wrote, memorializing his first love in a now-immortal post. Ocean’s two-paragraph message of thanks was largely received as a coming-out letter, and helped to formalize a significant relationship between Tumblr and music. He was one of the first popular queer musicians and celebrities who came of age, sexuality, and fame this decade on the microblogging site—folks like Troye Sivan, Halsey, Cara Delevigne, and Amandla Sternberg would also find fanbases there. For many young queer people and those otherwise culturally marginalized, Tumblr played home to communities where they became educated and politicized, to the point of their empowerment from cultural consumers to producers. Founded by David Karp in 2007, at a time when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect and marriage equality felt like an impassable dream, Tumblr offered queer and nonconforming youths “an opaque space where users were less likely to be found and attacked,” says Allison McCracken, Associate Professor of American Studies at DePaul University and something of an expert on Tumblr-based youth subcultures. These same attributes—the heavily coded and highly visual way of communicating, the hard-to-parse archives, the mostly pseudonymous users—have made it difficult for the press and general audiences to fully grasp the platform’s impact on music and music fandom. “Tumblr has had a larger influence on English-speaking popular culture than most people realize,” says digital anthropologist Alex Cho, who’s written extensively about the site’s queer POC users. More than any other digital space, it helped to queer an entire generation. In 2019, pop is beginning to look like everything Tumblr wanted it to be in the early 2010s: inclusive, empowered, and increasingly gay. Many artists are out and proud about their nuanced queer identities, from Kehlani to Janelle Monáe, while non-queer artists are making sure to bring in, and sometimes pander to, highly engaged queer audiences. Even Taylor Swift, newfound queen of Tumblr aesthetics, has built the practice of “queerbaiting” into her release strategy. Hints of homoeroticism have become as common among pop stars—from Ariana Grande to Dua Lipa to Charli XCX—as they are characters on a teen soap. The new language used to articulate gender and sexual identity has been popularized in lockstep with the platform. “The site’s queer users have led the way for the mainstream proliferation of queer/gender-conforming identity development,” McCracken says. Asexuality, demisexuality, grey sexuality, pansexuality, as well as non-binary—which may have even originated as a term on the site, it’s difficult to tell—have made their way, as public labels, to the pop world. Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Sia, Monáe, and others have identified themselves as at least one of the above, in the time since Tumblr popularized these micro-minorities in the early 2010s. “This is the Tumblr effect,” McCracken adds. The sheer desire for queer representation that overwhelmed Tumblr fandom in the mid-2010s is now so common in the mainstream that a new type of celebrity has emerged, one whose queer identity is as celebrated as their art. Consider Troye Sivan, who has been praised for bringing bottoming to pop via his song “Bloom”; or Hayley Kiyoko, the former Disney Channel star who affirmed that “girls like girls just like boys do” in her breakout hit; or Shura, the British singer-songwriter who remodeled Rodin’s iconic sculpture “The Kiss” to feature two women on her album cover. Each of these budding icons has been sloganized accordingly: Sivan is the Gay Prince of Pop, Kiyoko is the Lesbian Jesus, and Shura is the Lesbian Pope. These artists and others, like King Princess and MNEK, are often marketed and editorialized based on their queerness alone. With the rise of queer acceptance came the monetization of it. Meme librarian Amanda Brennan, who works on Tumblr’s Fandometrics project to chart fan trends across the site, says she noticed a large spike in popularity for Panic! At The Disco among Tumblr users when the band’s singer Brendon Urie began identifying as pansexual in July 2018. The same happened for Lil Nas X when he revealed this summer that he isn’t straight. In a formative example of this trend, back in 2015, Kiyoko found her music career bolstered by queer Tumblr fandom after releasing “Girls Like Girls.” While she’d already accrued a small following thanks to her role in Wizards of Waverly Place, Kiyoko’s popularity grew exponentially after Tumblr caught wind of her ode to other girls. “I watched Hayley Kiyoko’s 5 minuet [sic] music video about two girls,” one user posted, after seeing their desires refracted into ceaseless GIF form for perhaps the first time. “It had me on the edge of tears, and it makes me so upset b/c to me finding content like that 5 minuet [sic] video is so rare.” That image-based ephemera is part of what makes Tumblr resonate with such immediacy. Users’ dashboards are filled mostly with visual mediums—GIFs, photos, screenshots, and videos, all capable of evoking strong feelings. People can share their desires not just with the clumsiness of words, but with the impossible romance of a highly edited image, an endless loop of two people kissing. For musicians who came of art and age on the website, the music become inseparable from its same-sex, pastel-colored imagery: the orange of Ocean’s summer of love, the pink-aquamarine of Halsey’s Badlands, the candy-floss backdrop of Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighourhood. At this point, these album covers might be described as giving off “Tumblr vibes,” Brennan says, i.e. “dreamy and thoughtful and super, super queer.” This doesn’t mean the artist has to actually be queer, though. Brennan points to Taylor Swift’s use of “Tumblr vibes” on her new album Lover, whose cover resembles the kind of fan art you’d find on the platform, all butterflies and millennial pink. She sees some of the trends found within Tumblr’s LGBT+ tags—“positivity, self-empowerment, vivid colors”—reflected within the visual world of Swift’s seventh album. This itself is not so surprising: In addition to courting a queer audience with her rainbow-colored, LGBTQ-icon-featuring video for “You Need to Calm Down,” Swift’s most active social media presence is on Tumblr, where she regularly interacts with fans, often reblogging their praise and referring to them by their first names. The intense level of engagement that Tumblr inspires from its queer users is an especially valuable currency now that most musicians make more money from their tours and merchandise than their actual music. At the same time as this industry-wide shift, says McCracken, “the last 10 years has really seen what is considered by fan studies scholars as the mainstreaming of fandom by the corporate media.” That’s also meant that queer fans, who rely on “transformative works” (fan-created and fan-centered art) in order to serve their own interests, have been targeted more directly. Queer people will find themselves represented (or appropriated) in pop music now more than ever—they’re even beginning to share a common language. “‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay,” sings Swift, who recently came out as straight, on “You Need To Calm Down.” It’s now increasingly common for queer fans on Tumblr to bolster the popularity of musicians who are thought to be heterosexual. This is the case for Charli XCX, once a very active Tumblr user herself. In return, she often echoes the language of her queer fanbase, rooting for herself via the excessively punctuated enthusiasm and multiple letter cases of a Tumblr post (“i really feel like Gone is one of the best songs that has been released this year.... like it’s in the top 10 best songs of the year FOR SURE. right?!? rt if u agree,” she recently tweeted). This is also, bewilderingly, the case for Hozier. The Irish “Take Me to Church” singer espouses a particularly sapphic kind of yearning, according to his queer fanbase on Tumblr. “Hozier is a lesbian” is currently an active tag on the site. There’s no greater example of the campy veneration of heterosexual artists on Tumblr than One Direction. This was largely thanks to Rainbow Direction, a campaign for queer visibility among 1D fans, created in 2013 by a Tumblr user who was tired of seeing straight girls targeted exclusively by the band. As 1D members became aware of their popularity on the site, they often participated in Tumblr fan Q&As, where they interacted with a largely queer fanbase that helped keep them at the forefront of culture until their split. “It’s a great example of how Tumblr fans queered popular culture,” McCracken says. “On Tumblr, lesbian fans of One Direction were so pervasive that they defined the fandom there.” Those attending One Direction shows were encouraged to wear rainbow clothing and accessories, which likely resulted in Harry Styles waving a rainbow Pride flag in September 2015. In the years since, the androgynous Styles has cultivated a kind of queer appeal, particularly after staying ambiguous about his own sexuality and debuting songs with a perceived subtext of bisexuality. Now, nearly a half-decade removed from the height of Rainbow Direction, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the Tumblr we once knew—where queer earnestness was encouraged, where Frank Ocean felt safe enough to share his heart. Since Verizon’s acquisition of Tumblr in 2017, once highly active users of the site began to feel disaffected. That was exacerbated when the company decided to purge Tumblr’s archives of pornographic content in 2018, effectively putting a digital chastity belt on its queer users who once looked to the site for a horny representation of themselves. In the early 2010s, Tumblr was a construction site for new ways of identifying beyond the heteropatriarchal binary. Today, these values have been co-opted and sanitized for the purpose of profit. At the very least, like Frank, we’ll always have the memories. Source: https://pitchfork.com/features/article/2010s-how-tumblr-culture-legitimized-queer-fandom-frank-ocean-troye-sivan-one-direction/
  24. Arrested exec shared drugs in F&P flat 18 June 2006 By ADAM DUDDING Graham Ball, the former Fisher and Paykel executive arrested in a Singapore drugs bust, was sharing drugs at a flat paid for by F&P when police swooped, say charge sheets released to the Sunday Star-Times by the Singapore courts. Ball, 45, and local man Lim Kim Hui, who is in his late 20s, were charged with trafficking, consumption and other drug charges after police found 2.25g of methamphetamine and 1.19g of ketamine in Ball's company flat. Urine samples from the men tested positive for drugs. Ball has continued to live at the flat since he was released on bail a week after his March 31 arrest, but a Fisher and Paykel spokesman in New Zealand said he would leave the flat when its lease expired in a few days. Ball's lawyer, Harbajan Singh, said the company fired Ball from his post as Singapore general manager soon after his arrest. He said Ball had "lost everything". "He was earning good money, he was number one running operations here. It's hit him very bad." Ball's $S100,000 ($102,000) bail was paid by his brother, who flew to Singapore after being told of the arrest by the New Zealand government. The two trafficking charges against Ball, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and 15 strokes of the cane, have since been replaced with possession charges in a plea bargain arranged by Singh. Singh said Ball, who is originally from Te Puke, in the Bay of Plenty, was likely to face a sentence of about nine months in prison plus fines. He will next appear in court on June 29. News of the arrest came as Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, arrived in New Zealand for an official five-day visit. Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday refused to comment on Ball because his case is before the courts. She would not say if she would raise the matter with her Singaporean counterpart during his visit. A Fisher and Paykel spokesman in New Zealand said the company was "shocked" when Ball was charged, but he declined to comment on whether its reputation in Singapore had suffered as a result
  25. This is Part 4 of a BuzzFeed News investigation on the predatory uses of GHB and GBL in the UK: Gay men are being drugged without their knowledge using GHB put into lubricant in order to rape and sexually assault them, BuzzFeed News and Channel 4’s Dispatches can reveal. In a documentary to be broadcast on Sunday night, Stephen Morris, who runs the only specialist unit in the Prison and Probation Service for offenders who commit crimes amid chemsex situations, warns: “One of the most recent developments is that GHB can be administered within lubricant.” The criminal technique involves drugging victims by injecting the mixture anally, causing the chemical to be absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, therefore triggering a more immediate or heightened effect. Morris’s warning comes in a BuzzFeed News–Dispatches documentary called Sex, Drugs and Murder, which reveals how GHB is being weaponised by rapists and murderers, and maps the abuse, addiction, and deaths it has caused among gay men. One victim, who responded to a survey conducted for the documentary, said he had been unknowingly overdosed on the drug through lubricant and later was sent photographs of the two men raping him. His account was one of dozens of survey respondents’ who also reported being drugged with GHB through lubricant. The method is particularly being used on gay and bisexual men and often in chemsex situations — where crystal meth, GHB, and mephedrone might already be present — and has prompted LGBT health charities to highlight the serious health risks it poses as well as the numerous crimes it can enable. The unique danger of GHB and GBL, which turns into GHB in the body, is how easy they are to overdose on: Just half a millilitre too much can cause death, and when mixed with alcohol, the danger is even higher. True Vision / BuzzFeed News / Channel 4 From his knowledge of recent cases in the London area, Morris explained that the lubricant–GHB mixture can be “easily disguised and hidden, and people may not know” either that they are being given the drug or in what amount. That mixture could then be put into a syringe and injected anally or “would be used in the body in the way that you would use lubricant to facilitate sexual behaviour in penetration”. GHB is often referred to in the media as a “date rape” drug, but in reference to it being slipped into people’s drinks, and usually relating to female victims. Morris’s warning, however, coincided with the results of the largest-ever survey of gay and bisexual men’s experiences of GHB and GBL, the two almost identical drugs usually referred to simply as “G”. The effect of this drug, like crystal meth, can increase the chances of an offence, said Morris. “One of the key elements of these substances is that it encourages really disinhibited behaviour. So behaviour that perhaps you would not do if you weren’t under the influence [of] these substances.” However, he said, other perpetrators commit crimes purposefully, with premeditation. “You then have a group of men … that are seeking out the context of the chemsex situation, in order to commission a serious offence, and they will take time in planning, and grooming, and commissioning their offence.” The method of applying GHB anally, or through lubricant, first emerged in the case of serial killer Stephen Port, who was convicted in 2016 of raping and killing four young gay men with GHB. But the technique also featured in the trial earlier this year of Port’s drug dealer, Gerald Matovu, and his accomplice, Brandon Dunbar. Court papers revealed that one of their 12 victims, Eric Michels, who later died from GHB intoxication, had “drugs injected into his anus without his consent”. Police found an empty 3-mL syringe with a nozzle rather than a needle on the floor by the bed where Michels’ body was found. Another of their victims, who did not die, heard Matovu instruct Dunbar to inject him without his consent while he was lying face down, after which he “recalls a burning sensation as the liquid entered his anus, following which he became confused and his vision blurred”. He then lost consciousness. One respondent to the anonymous survey, whom we will call Zack, described his initial introduction to GHB and how it was later used to commit sexual violence against him. “I used to work in one of London’s big LGBT nightclubs,” he said. “I started to use it with friends while clubbing, and then one night I was invited to a house party.” He now realises that he was lured there “primarily to be used sexually”. True Visions / BuzzFeed News / Channel 4 But this proved to be just the beginning, he said. “On more than one occasion, I have been sexually abused on G. I thought that was the thing that happened when you put yourself in that position. I took it as just the negative side effect of getting high, and thought that if I said anything about it, no one would believe me because I’d taken the drug either voluntarily or openly.” However, he explained, this was not always the case. “The times I know it was introduced into my system via lube was because I went under [unconscious] without having taken anything and still felt those effects. I was then sent photos on a gay dating app of me being fucked by two men I didn’t know.” He has kept it secret since then. “This is the first time I’ve ever admitted this because I’m too ashamed of letting myself get in that situation … I would never dream of letting people know.” The impact of the crimes has been profound and long-term, he said. “Now I don’t trust many people. I have a major problem when I’ve dated new people because I feel like trash. Sex doesn’t have the same appeal as it once did. And if I do have sex, I have to get blind drunk to be able to have it happen. I cannot face being naked and sober with someone.” This has left him contemplating using drugs such as GHB again in order to overcome this. “Sometimes I think maybe if I do drugs again, sex will again be ‘exciting’ because I know that’s what a lot of twentysomethings are doing,” he said. “Even though I know people who have died [from GHB], I still think about doing it because I feel like that’s probably the only way I can enjoy sex again.” The practice of administering drugs anally is itself not new. Both medication and prohibited substances have for decades been taken as suppositories. In the context of chemsex, however, it is chiefly crystal meth (also known as T or Tina) that has been known to be sometimes taken anally — mixed with water and dispensed through needleless syringes — and referred to as “booty bumps”. The practice of mixing G with lubricant, however, has prompted surprise and concern among sexual health organisations, in part because of the localised damage it could do to the rectal area because GBL, in particular, is an industrial cleaner for alloy wheels and so is highly toxic and abrasive. “GHB/GBL can irritate the skin or the mucous membrane which lines the anus and rectum, so application in lube could increase the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection,” said Monty Moncrieff, the CEO of London Friend, an LGBT health charity. Hepatitis C infection, for example, is a particular risk if syringes are being used anally by more than one person. Worse, said Moncrieff, was that “The effects of the drug could cause the person to become unconscious, meaning they may not feel pain if any damage is caused by someone continuing to have sex with them.” The law is clear, however. “If somebody has administered a substance with the intention to overpower you in order to have sex without your consent, then that is a criminal offence for which they can be prosecuted,” he said. There are certain measures that might be helpful if meeting people for sex, said Moncrieff, such as “always having your own supply of lube in individual sachets or maybe pop some into travel-size liquid bottles that are easy to keep with you, and making sure you only use your own”. If you witness someone unconscious on G, “Don’t let other people carry on having sex with them – this would be classed as rape as they are not legally able to give consent; make sure they can breathe, and call an ambulance if you are worried about them.” And if you have been assaulted, he said: “You can report it to the police, who can refer you to a specialist sexual assault centre, like the Havens in London. They can help gather forensic evidence and provide you with emotional support, even if you then decide not to press charges. They also take self-referrals.” Although difficult, it is vital that such things be discussed publicly, said Moncrieff. “As gay men, we know what it’s like for our sexuality to be criminalised and stigmatised, and we’ve fought hard for the right to have consensual and adventurous sex without shame. But we also need to be able to address the unacceptable aspects of sex within our communities and call out this predatory and nonconsensual behaviour that we’ve sadly become aware is happening for what it is — assault and rape.” Indeed, the method of applying G through lubricant is just one cause for concern amid a wider landscape of crime committed in chemsex settings. Stephen Morris also identified several other instances of offences manifesting in such situations. True Vision / BuzzFeed News / Channel 4 “Livestreaming has been a very concerning feature now, for a number of years,” he said. Victims who have been drugged with GHB will be “in various states of functioning, so some people would be unconscious, and crimes committed against them”. The rape being committed is then “filmed, shared, and viewed live” on the dark web, he revealed in the documentary. Streaming it on the internet “may enhance the risk, or the sense of excitement” he explained. “But there would be motivational factors, or they may be able to gain financial rewards, for doing that, and selling those images.” The profiting from GHB-induced sexual violence can also be part of organised crime, he said, involving “networks of people” all operating outside of the World Wide Web. Due to the secretive manner in which such crimes are committed and the ways in which the drug can be administered, with victims often not knowing what has taken place, the authorities are only beginning to grasp the scale of what is happening. “We still have a lot of work to do on case identification,” said Morris. “This is an area of crime, and behaviour, that can be hidden, and it may not emerge at all. I think we will certainly be identifying more cases.” Dispatches: Sex, Drugs and Murder will be on Channel 4 this Sunday at 11pm, and afterwards will be available on All 4, the on-demand service.
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