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Singapore Polytechnic responds after barring radio DJ from TED talk because of LGBTQ+ themes

The polytechnic's organising committee said that Joshua Simon should review LGBTQ+ themes that are mentioned in the script given the audience profile, which resulted in him deciding not to speak at all




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Joshua Simon, a radio presenter at Kiss92 FM, had his recent TED Talk cancelled because of the LGBTQ+ themes it contained.

In a Facebook post, he wrote that he was removed from the speakers’ list at Singapore Polytechnic because his talk included LGBTQ+ themes. However he said that he refused to edit his script or to leave out any content in relation to LGBTQ+ themes.

“It would be against my principles to flip the gender of my ex when mentioning my breakup and to totally leave out my coming out story to my father – both of which are, and will always be, defining moments of my story”.

He told TISG, “Ultimately, how we (the LGBTQ+ community) feel is that we’re not being heard, we’re not being seen, we’re being scratched out”.

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In response to queries, Singapore Polytechnic responded with a statement.

A spokesperson from SP said: TEDxYouth@SP is a student-led event that is supported by Singapore Polytechnic. Its purpose is to inspire youths with ideas and stories. The student organising committee invited several speakers for this event, including Joshua Simon. They were given the theme of “You versus You” – how one can be better versions of themselves.

All speakers were required to submit their scripts before the event to ensure that their content is aligned to the theme and appropriate for the audience.

In the run-up to the event, Joshua Simon was advised that certain references to his sexuality might be sensitive, given the diverse profile of the audience.

The student organising committee reviewed his script which they received on the eve of TEDxYouth@SP. They found it inspirational but assessed that certain parts relating to his sexuality might be inappropriate, for the target audience. They sought the advice of the staff of SP who agreed with the students’ views.

The organising committee then suggested that Joshua Simon consider reviewing how these mentions are expressed in his script, given the audience profile, while preserving the integrity of his story. Unfortunately, he decided not to speak at the event at all instead. The students were disappointed but respected his decision. -/TISG

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