The organisers of Singapore's annual demonstration for LGBTQ equality have slammed the country's censors for handing an M18 rating to the latest Marvel film, Eternals, calling LGBTQ censorship rules harmful, discriminatory and "out of touch with reality".
Eternals, the 26th film in the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe series, was released in theatres in Singapore on 4 November. The movie was rated M18 by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) because of scenes featuring a gay character, including a same-sex kiss. The rating restricts audiences for the film to those above the age of 18.
Marvel Studios' superhero films, which target family audiences, have always received PG or PG13 ratings in Singapore. Eternals is the first film from the franchise to receive an M18 rating.
In explaining its rating, IMDA had said that the scenes featuring queer characters were "more appropriate under the M18 Classification Guidelines which allow 'non-explicit depictions of mild sexual activity or acts of intimacy (e.g. kissing and hugging) between persons of the same gender'."
In response, Pink Dot spokesperson Clement Tan said, "IMDA continues to disappoint with its decision to restrict the portrayal of LGBTQ characters in Marvel’s The Eternals behind an M18 rating."
Tan called IMDA guidelines on the depictions of LGBTQ people "discriminatory" and "out of touch with reality", as well as patronising to the younger generation. "They are also incredibly harmful to public discussions and constructive dialogue on LGBTQ issues."
In 2008, MediaCorp TV Channel 5 was fined by the then Media Development Authority for an episode that "normalise(d) and promote(d) a gay lifestyle". The agency said at the time, "This is in breach of the Free-to-Air TV Programme Code which disallows programmes that promote, justify or glamourise gay lifestyles."
In 2019, Disney cut a same-sex kiss between two minor female characters for the local theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker to preserve its PG13 rating.
Last year, the national broadcaster Mediacorp apologised to the LGBTQ community after a Chinese drama containing homophobic stereotypes caused a public backlash.