Is Singapore LGBT friendly

Singapore wants to "destroy" gay-themed children's books

This book caused a stir in the US years ago - now the censors in Singapore have shot at the gay penguins

State libraries have to take three children's books out of circulation because they contain homosexuals.

The National Library Board (NLB) announced over the weekend that it would remove three LGBT-friendly children's books from the city-state's 26 public libraries. The books are to be "destroyed" afterwards, said the NLB according to AP information. However, the agency has not disclosed whether the books will be burned or otherwise rendered unusable.

One of the banned English-language books is "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Here the story of a male penguin couple who raise a child together is told. The book had already caused a stir in the USA during the Bush years ( reported). Homophobic parents then called for the book to be removed from American libraries.

The other censored books are "The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption" and "Who's In My Family: All About Our Families". Rainbow families appear in both books.

These three books do not meet the moral requirements of Singapore, said Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim: "According to the prevailing norms, which are accepted by a large majority of the citizens of Singapore, we support that children learn about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families "said Ibrahim. Social norms could change. But it is not the job of libraries to change these norms.

Petition started against Singapore

An online petition has already been launched against the decision of the NLB authority. It argues that censorship has no place in modern society and that there is no point in pretending that homosexuals do not exist.

In the city-state of Singapore with a population of 4.5 million, homosexuality is imprisoned for up to two years in accordance with Section 377a. Last year, the country's Supreme Court ruled that the law based on British colonial law was legal ( reported). The country, which has an enormous economic boom and twice as high a per capita gross national product than Germany, is also lagging behind in other legal areas: There are still flogging and even the death penalty. (dk)