Our concerns regarding ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the Beast text

Beauty and the Beast text taken from commons.wikimedia.org

The society’s current President, Mr Tan Tatt Si, wrote to key figures regarding the negative reactions to the film ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

The Humanist Society (Singapore) expresses concerns over calls by some segments of the public to censor the upcoming film, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, over the depiction of a gay character in the film.

Our Society is a non-profit organisation gazetted in 2010. We are a community of humanists, atheists, agnostics, and other like-minded people in Singapore. Over the past 7 years, we have organised many public talks reaching hundreds of people, partnered with universities and public agencies for several projects, taken part in more than 10 interfaith dialogues, and worked with VWOs to engage in community service. We have also written to the press to contribute to public debates over key national issues.

Our Society recognises that many people in Singapore are still uncomfortable with the LGBT community and a delicate balance has to be achieved between those who want change, and those preferring the status quo. Our national laws and media regulations take into account these existing sensitivities. We understand that the mainstream media, such as national TV programmes, newspapers, and radio channels play an important role in nation-building and maintaining our social fabric. While the portrayals of LGBT individuals on visual mediums such as television programmes are carefully calibrated, a ‘light touch’ has been adopted for online content, and LGBT communities have found some space for expression on blogs and YouTube. LGBT communities also celebrate the annual Pink Dot event.

That said, the Humanist Society urges the government to allow our media regulations to evolve further with changing mindsets. An increasing number of younger Singaporeans are becoming more accepting and understanding of the LGBT community. Scores of global professionals, investors, as well as academics who live, work, and play in our city also look forward to contributing to a nation that is accommodating of different viewpoints. This includes highly-skilled human capital crucial for our ongoing economic restructuring.

We hope that the IMDA will not censor or rate ‘Beauty and the Beast’ excessively, over the depiction of one gay character in the film. Educating the public about inclusiveness towards sexual minorities and raising awareness about the discrimination they face will facilitate the maturing of views regarding the LGBT community. Censoring or banning the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ also deprives the chance for the majority of families who have no issues with the depiction of homosexual characters to appreciate the movie in the theatres as the filmmakers intended. This includes many humanists and freethinkers, many of whom have no issues with the LGBT community.

Best regards,

Mr Tan Tatt Si

On behalf of the Executive Committee
Humanist Society (Singapore)