Lightyear

Lightyear

In Singapore, this movie is rated NC16. Which means no one under the age of 16 can watch it. No prizes for those who can guess why.

This movie, which is marketed towards children, and has toys sold on toy store shelves, can't be seen by its target audience in this beloved country of mine.

If Andy from Toy Story was a Singaporean, he'd never be able to watch this movie, and he'd never have become a Buzz Lightyear fan.

I should be used to this by now. It happened to Eternals. it happened to Bohemian Rhapsody. Every single LGBT-themed movie on Disney+ has a restricted rating. Goddamn Owl House and Power Rangers Dino Fury can't be viewed by children in this country. It's happened so many times now. But it still hurts every time.

If there's any consolation, at least we're (seemingly) past the era where these scenes were like 2 seconds long and easily edited out for countries like mine. Good on you, Disney. You did something right for once. Have this rare W, it makes things easier for me now that i can focus all my dissent elsewhere.

The official reasoning, as given by the IMDA (our local censorship board) is as follows:

"Singapore is a diverse society where we have multiple sensibilities and viewpoints. This being a children's cartoon, a significant number of (the panel's) members felt that the overt depiction of same-gender marriage would warrant a higher rating. Even among members who were willing to consider a lower rating, some were uncomfortable that this would mean it can be shown unedited, to a broad-based audience on free-to-air TV."

Btw, a quick search shows that the person who made that statement is also an ultra-conservative Christian. Yep, these are the people who decide this stuff here. What do I expect, honestly.

I wonder at this point if the government will ever realise how embarrassing this all is. Our country's name regularly gets mentioned in the same breath by Redditors as the likes of China and Saudi Arabia when discussing countries where gay shit has to be censored. Do they not yet see how outdated their mindsets are? How dystopian their attempts to censor LGBT content are? How hypocritical it is to constantly, repeatedly promise LGBT folk here that they will be treated fairly and without prejudice, only to pull shit like this behind our backs every single time without fail?

This country I live in has a pledge, which we recited every morning during our school days. It states, clear as day, that our country is one that does not discriminate based on race, language or religion. It states that our society is one built on justice and equality. And I happen to be pretty proud to be a Singaporean, because for all our many, many, faults, life here is generally still pretty solid.

So then, I question why the government seems to actively want me to not feel welcome in this country. Because whenever a film gets released here that either has to be censored or given an absurdly high rating because WE CAN'T POSSIBLY LET THE INNOCENT KIDS KNOW GAY PEOPLE EXIST, well, it makes me embarrassed. It makes me feel ashamed to call myself a Singaporean.

Lightyear's rating is ultimately a small issue in the grand scheme of things, sure, but it is emblematic of a huge flaw in my country's society, one that will not change unless people speak out.

Happy fucking Pride month.

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