Meanwhile Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water only received a 16 rating.
Love, Simon is one of the most important LGBTQ films to have ever been released, and yet teens in Singapore will be barred from watching it, after the country’s film censorship board, Media Development Authority of Singapore, gave it an R21 rating. This prevents it from airing in most of the country’s cinemas.
Fans hit out at the board’s decision, especially after the film board only gave The Shape of Water, a movie that contains a sex scene, a 16 rating.
Activist Thasha Monique Dharmendra has created a petition, which already has over 10,000 signatures, calling on the Media Development of Singapore to change the age rating to something that will allow teens to see the film.
Her petition reads: “The movie “Love, Simon” is a film about a homosexual boy coming to terms with his sexuality and his journey about coming out.
“I realised that the movie “Love, Simon” has been rated R21 by the Media Development Authority of Singapore which I think is ridiculous as there is no sexual intercourse or violence involved.
“Its just a harmless coming of age movie where the main character happens to be gay. I understand that the older generations are hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community thus leading to some younger generations to just follow suit.
“However, a young Singaporean teen struggling with their sexuality might find themself [sic] relating and finding comfort in this movie.
“By making “Love, Simon” NC16, I am positive that it will have a huge impact on young teenagers struggling to find acceptance from family and friends.
“It will also educate people that being free and accepted is just what everyone in this extensive community wants. Hopefully, it will also change people’s negative perception of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I personally know many individuals who are afraid of coming out and a movie like this will show them that they are not alone and that there is hope.
“You might think Singapore is a country where there a little to no LGBTQ+ teens, however, I assure you that they have just been overcome by the internalised homophobia this country has.
“I also think that reducing the age limit will be a step in the right direction for a more inclusive society.”
The petition ends with a list of some of Love, Simon’s age ratings in other countries. The petition can be signed here.
LGBTQ rights are poor in Singapore, with same-sex activity still illegal between two men under Section 377A of their penal code. In 2014, their Supreme Court upheld the ban on gay sex.
Love, Simon is the LGBTQ movie we’ve all been waiting for. Gay Times gave the movie five stars in our review, which you can read here.
Here’s an extract from our review: “Love, Simon is charming and heartbreaking, fresh yet familiar, but is perhaps more important for the great strides it makes in queer visibility. There is something wonderfully subversive about using a coming out story as part of a mass-marketed, John Hughes-esque Hollywood teen movie.”