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Media representation: How can we be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community in the media to increase empathy in Singapore?


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“More than 34,000 people die by suicide each year,” making it “the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth attempting suicide up to four times more than their heterosexual peers.”

The lack of representation and discrimination can lead to the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals in society being substandard. In Singapore, same-sex sexual activity, adoption, and marriage is illegal. The representation of the LGBTQ+ community in media is seen as taboo; for example, the movie ‘Love Simon’, directed by Greg Berlanti, was given extremely high rating, R21, whereas, in America, it is simply a PG 13 family-friendly movie. Singapore has progressed beyond censorship in recent years, however, we have not progressed all too much. Lack of representation in the media leads to ignorance in the Singaporean citizens, and the people’s response to ignorance usually ends in discrimination. Personally, I was unaware that anything other than heterosexuality and cisgender existed before I moved into an American school in the 5th grade.

This lack of basic understanding could lead to people forming negative stereotypes of the LGBTQ+ community because of the negative portrayals in the media that appear as a form of humor, and remaining discriminatory towards the community because people rarely ever wish to change their methods of thinking if they are brought up with it. This negative outlook that Singaporean citizens hold towards the community leads to isolation to the LGBTQ+ people, causing them to feel alone, targeted, and developing depression and/or committing suicide.


My response: What can we do?

The first stage of improvement is awareness, Singaporeans will not make an effort to understand the LGBTQ+ community in regards to any internal effect, large community events, service, and fundraisers have been done to spread awareness of the LGBTQ+ community in a positive light by support groups like The Pink dot, Oogachanga, and the free community church, this has done some good regarding the young community but barely impacted the older generations whatsoever. By spreading awareness in general, we can educate the masses and education leads to empathy.

Empathy is the ability to connect with others and understand from another’s perspective, media representation allows people to experience life from a different perspective, therefore increasing empathy and acceptance.

How can I help?

In the comments below, please share (1) an idea on how we can work to increase empathy in this local community. (2) How progressive the LGBTQ+ rights/treatment is in your community, and (3) List three examples of how your community has done to progress in LGBTQ+ rights in the past decade.

 

Sources and works consulted

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-Mm899f__wkNuP–U3Nj2x4Cx9kukPKahiGua5pIit8/edit?usp=sharing

 

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COMMENTS: 6
  1. April 24, 2020 by Natalia

    I really enjoyed your presentation! It’s crazy that ‘Love, Simon’ was rated so maturely and really puts things in perspective for me about how the LGBTQ+ community is treated around the world. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a very liberal community, which means that there is a lot of acceptance, however, it also means that I tend to live in a bit of a bubble. One thing that I think would help to increase empathy is to normalize the LGBTO+ community. Make it something commonplace. Representation in media, tv, and movies, would really help with this, and although there has been more representation, there’s still a long way to go (especially for queer POC).

    • April 28, 2020 by Elana Munasinghe

      Thank you for this feedback, I really enjoyed your opinion on how you view this issue because it shows how modern-day society really views issues such as these.

  2. April 25, 2020 by Menna

    Amazing project! One thing I love about my school is we have an LGBT club where people can come to talk about problems and also steps forward of of inclusivity and acceptance around the world. We also have an LGBT “safe zone” which is basically a place in our school where people of all sexualities can feel comfortable at. However, I don’t think every school is lucky enough to have programs that raise awareness to LGBT and I think we need to work on building and implementing clubs and safe places in schools to support all types of people.

    • April 28, 2020 by Elana Munasinghe

      Thank you Menna, for this really puts into perspective how other places in the world deal with LGBTQ+ issues and strive for acceptance.

  3. April 25, 2020 by leslie

    Wow! You did such a great job on your project! I didn’t realize how much the LGBTQ+ community was stigmatized in Singapore. In my own community, we have an LGBT club that helps spread awareness. We also have assemblies for the community to come together to learn more about the LGBT community. I think that is one thing that really helps spread information and increase empathy. The media is definitely a crucial way to spread information though. I hope more movies like “Love Simon” are produced and shown worldwide! Keep up the great work!

    • April 28, 2020 by Elana Munasinghe

      Thank you so much Leslie, I really appreciate how you offered your own opinions on my article as well as your own beliefs involving this topic.

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