Gay couple’s hotel photo shoot prompts praise and criticism in Singapore

 

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A post shared by W Singapore – Sentosa Cove (@wsingapore) on


The W Hotel in Singapore has prompted hundreds of comments on social media after re-sharing an image of a same-sex couple who recently enjoyed a stay at the location.

The W brand has 59 hotels in 25 countries and is known for being a chain that values diversity.

However, Singapore still has a Colonial-era law banning gay sex, which means brands tend to tread a little more carefully when it comes to using positive LGBTQ imagery.

Related: Singapore High Court upholds law banning gay sex

Last week, W Hotel – Sentosa Cove reshared an Instagram from same-sex couple Andee Chua and Hugo Liu. The men both shared several images from a recent stay at the hotel to their social media.

 

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今天牛郎與牛郎又見面了 Happy Chinese Valentine’s day 🏳️‍🌈 #Hugodee

A post shared by Hugo Liu (@hugo_tw) on

Chua is a local fashion model, dancer, and influencer, while Liu (from Taiwan) has a successful YouTube channel. The two men met four years ago whilst Liu was on a trip to Singapore.

The social media posting quickly became one of the hotel’s most shared, prompting hundreds of comments.

Many applauded the brand. “Singapore needs more of this! I’m so proud of this step. ♥️♥️
I now have hope in Singapore,” was typical of the compliments.

However, some were not so sure, with one person on Instagram commenting, “Why can’t it be a normal couple being shown? Nothing against these guys but being a 5-star hotel there are lots of families with kids whom are going to stay here in the future. How do parents going to explain such situation to the kids?”

Another user blasted the image as “disgusting.”

Related: Asia’s biggest queer art exhibition opens in Bangkok

Contacted by AsiaOne, a W Hotel spokesperson clarified the image was not an advertisement, but said, “We are in the business of welcoming all and occasionally feature guests with their permission on our social platforms.”

Chua took to Instagram to thank W Hotel, and other social media users, for their support.

“Despite the homophobia and discrimination we still get in today’s world, Hugo and I still stick true to being who we are and living our lives normally on a day-to-day basis; no need to hide our sexuality or our love for one another.

“Thanks to @wsingapore for taking the progressive step in celebrating diversity, embracing differences and showing the world that love can be just as simple. And to all the positive comments and support we’ve gotten so far from the W “saga”, you guys warm our heart and we believe that if we keep spreading love and not hate, we will soon live in a beautiful world we all yearn for.”

Chua told GayCities, “I wasn’t surprised by the backlash and negative comments given the fact that we are still quite a conservative nation with the Penal Code 377A still being around – a law that criminalizes gay sex in Singapore. This is a panel code that needs to be repealed for a more inclusive and progressive society.

“However, I am very touched to see the overflowing of positive comments and reactions, too. Many people came forward to show their support and I think that encouraged others to do so too.

“It’s a small progressive step forward and I hope this will help pave the way for many other brands to follow suit: to be more inclusive publicly and show that they do embrace diversity and not discriminate.”

 

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Despite the homophobia and discrimination we still get in today’s world, Hugo and I still stick true to being who we are and living our lives normally on a day-to-day basis; no need to hide our sexuality or our love for one another. Thanks to @wsingapore for taking the progressive step in celebrating diversity, embracing differences and showing the world that love can be just as simple. And to all the positive comments and support we’ve gotten so far from the W “saga”, you guys warm our heart and we believe that if we keep spreading love and not hate, we will soon live in a beautiful world we all yearn for. Keep loving, and keep these conversations going (not just during pride month). One day, slowly but surely, we will be able push boundaries and make an impact. We gotta keep believing and taking small steps forward! PS: But first, we need to work towards repealing Penal Code 377A in Singapore – a law that criminalize sex between two consenting male adults 💪🙌 #loveislove #inclusivity #repeal377a

A post shared by ANDEE CHUA 安迪 (@andeecys) on

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