As the United States Supreme Court debates gay marriage, Singapore is the latest home for a gay magazine.
Launching a gay magazine in Singapore is no easy ordeal, maintaining all the challenges of keeping a magazine afloat, Element also must overcome social barriers and bureaucratic obstacles to reach consumers, who largely want to remain anonymous.
Although Singapore is home to a thriving gay scene, most of it falls under the radar, as homosexual intimacy is severely banned by the government. The colonial law that bans homosexuality, S377A, is currently being reviewed in the Singaporean Supreme Court. M. Ravi, the lawyer representing gay rights in the case, recently told 429 Magazine, “I am very confident that there will be a massive change in social policies in Asia, given my experience in human rights law in the region and based on feedback from the regional human rights networks. At present, there is an increasing dialogue on how to mitigate against discrimination based on sexual orientation. “
Singapore homosexuals suffer from having to keep their sexuality hidden in public, so much so, that in a recent report by the gay help group Oogachaga, over 60% of gay people in Singapore have faced some blatant example of discrimination.
Element is aiming to become the ‘voice of gay Asia,’ with its first installment to include inside stories on gay criteria and include nightclubs, resorts, events and interviews with gay leaders. To expand its readership, Element, is aiming to translate the magazine into Mandarin and Thai and other languages spoken widely in the region.
Element, as the first gay magazine in the city-state, will have to remain relatively anonymous, and will only be available digitally through both iTunes or Android App-stores, so as to offer its consumers a some degree of privacy.
“Not many gay men would pick up a copy of a magazine like this on a newsstand – that’s just the culture here,” the founder of Element Mr. Mizuhara said in a press release.
Element is yet another positive example of a private enterprise that is helping to open gay social awareness in the region. The more the private sphere becomes involved with tapping into the LGBT marketplace, the more the public will be able to address the issue of gay rights.
”It is critical for companies to play a critical role in creating open and safe work environments for LGBT employees and clients as well as bring about greater acceptance of the LGBT community in society,” Kevin Burns, spokesperson for Community Business told 429 Magazine in a recent interview.
Element plans to publish on a bi-monthly basis and is set to launch in early April.