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Singapore gets first gay magazine via digital workaround

While Western countries debate the merits of gay marriage, countries in Southeast Asia remain far less accepting of homosexuality.

In socially conservative Singapore, where sexual contact between men is still punishable with up to two years' jail time, an online-only magazine targeted to gay men in Asia launched last month, with a second issue due in June. It is something of a test case for media and cultural barriers.

For a population that both shows signs of slowly accepting of gay culture, and embraces the digital media formats that allow the publisher to bypass local media licensing requirements for print publications, the timing may be right for Element, a magazine that covers fashion, entertainment, fitness, and issues relevant to the Asian gay community.

"It's an excellent moment," said Hirokazu Mizuhara, the managing director and creative force behind the bi-monthly e-magazine. "A few years back a digital magazine probably wouldn't be able to garner a lot of attention. In Singapore, given that it's a very digital society, a purely e-magazine can have the same effect as a printed version."

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