"Are they afraid the whole of Singapore is going to turn gay after watching that movie?"
Samuel Leighton-Dore

3 Apr 2018 - 12:16 PM  UPDATED 3 Apr 2018 - 12:16 PM

Fans have been left scratching their heads after coming-of-age film Love, Simon received an R21 classification in Singapore, meaning those under the age of 21 will be unable to view the film. 

Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) made the decision, despite the film containing no sexual content or violence.

The reason behind the R21 classification, the highest possible classification in Singapore, is the MDA's pre-existing guideline for films which depict "a homosexual lifestyle" to "be sensitive to community values".

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The MDA classification guidelines read: "They should not, promote or justify a homosexual lifestyle. However, non-exploitative and non-explicit depictions of sexual activity between two persons of the same gender may be considered for R21."

However, local LGBTIQ+ activist Thasha Monique Dharmendra has started a petition to change the film’s classification to NC16, which would welcome viewers over the age of 16-years-old, arguing that the film is a "harmless coming-of-age movie where the main character happens to be gay".

"A young Singaporean teen struggling with their sexuality might find themself relating and finding comfort in this movie," she wrote in the petition.

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She continued: "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."

"Hopefully, it will also change people’s negative perception of the LGBTQ+ community," Dharmendra concluded.

Love, Simon received a PG13 rating in the United States and an M rating in Australia.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Singapore, with no anti-discrimination protections existing for members of the local LGBTIQ+ community.