Paris Jackson — the daughter of late great Michael Jackson — is bisexual. Not that her sexual orientation matters, but apparently it did when she was accused of being hypocritical when she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore. You know, the first-world country that still outlaws sexual relations between gay men (but doesn’t enforce it).
In an op-ed, Gay Star News editor Jamie Tabberer slammed the 20-year-old model for her appearance on the September issue of the magazine, calling it “problematic”. Tabberer takes issue with how Jackson is not aware of Singapore’s discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ community, despite the model having publicly stated her desire to advocate for the community worldwide.
“The hypocrisy is absurd,” declared Tabberer. “Put simply, I don’t believe LGBTI allies or LGBTIs should be granting exclusives to publications in such countries.”
The piece was written in response to Jackson’s Instagram post of her Harper’s Bazaar cover last Thursday, which has since been taken down following the hit piece. The image of the cover remains up on the Harper’s Bazaar Singapore Instagram account, with no mention of the controversy.
Jackson has since apologized for her actions, stating that she wasn’t aware of Singapore’s stance on homosexuality.
“I don’t want to be hypocritical or hurt anyone, and my support for my fellow LGBTQ+ community comes first before my love for fashion and gratitude for this opportunity,” she tweeted about the Harper’s Bazaar cover.
i didn’t know, i am sorry. i was grateful for the opportunity, but i’ll delete the post now. i don’t want to be hypocritical or hurt anyone, and my support for my fellow LGBTQ+ community comes first before my love for fashion and gratitude for this opportunity. again, i’m sorry. https://t.co/ntokVfCZZS
— Paris-Michael K. J. (@ParisJackson) August 19, 2018
However, she took issue with the tone of Tabberer’s op-ed, calling it “ridiculously mean”, while maintaining that being a bisexual figure featured in a country that doesn’t support the LGBTQ community could be considered progress.
i would like to add though that someone that is openly apart of the community being on the cover in a country against the community, should be celebrated. isn’t that a step forward? again, i am deeply sorry. i didn’t mean to be hypocritical or hurt anyone.
— Paris-Michael K. J. (@ParisJackson) August 19, 2018
Jackson’s fans and other LGBTQ pundits chimed in their support for the model, arguing that she did nothing wrong.
this website must of had a slow news day. don’t stress about it. im gay and don’t see anything wrong with you being on the cover of the magazine??? it’s not as if you’re agreeing with the countries law.
— millie (@damnangelina) August 19, 2018
Please don’t delete. Your cover could give countless young LGBT+ people in Singapore hope and courage. Regardless of whether you talk about rights or not. People don’t live in a bubble and can follow you on your socials to find out more about your passions. Love & Peace
— TheGayUK Magazine (@TheGayUK) August 20, 2018
I think the article was reaching too far and from a spiteful perspective. You were on a cover for a magazine in a nation that is anti-LGBTQ. In my opinion, thats a small step toward LGBTQ people being normalized. Exposure and teaching is everything.
— Jessica Vill (@jbunzie) August 19, 2018
You shouldn’t have to apologise! It’s absurd that you can’t be on the cover of a magazine without criticism! Fairy certain the editors in Singapore are aware of your sexuality & didn’t care. The beliefs of a Gov doesn’t mean ppl of that country feel the same.
— M (@NativeQ2383) August 19, 2018
You shouldn’t be sorry. Sure, the country might not support gay marriage, but that has nothing to do with the magazine. All the people there probably want gay marriage to be legal but they can’t change it without showing support for the lgbt community by featuring lgbt artist.
— Swiftly Swiftie (@AASwiftie13) August 19, 2018
BBC also found out that the model’s appearance on the Harper’s Bazaar cover isn’t exclusive to Singapore as Gay Star News reported. The magazine’s publisher, Hearst, confirmed that Jackson will also be appearing on September covers for seven other countries.
Is Singapore homophobic?
If compared to other countries with more oppressive rules against homosexuality (Chechnya, Afghanistan, Guyana, Nigeria, and more), then no, Singapore is not that homophobic.
But the conservative country still has a long way to go towards acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Same-sex relations between men is still considered illegal (though it hasn’t been enforced since ’99); same-sex relationships and marriages aren’t recognized by the law, and same-sex couples aren’t allowed to adopt children. Most recently, the country’s Ministry of Education allegedly barred an LGBTQ activist from speaking at a school event.
Still, not everything is bleak. Open support for gay rights has grown in recent years, aided by changing social norms among the younger generation and a large influx of tourists and expatriates. Singapore’s annual gay rights rally this year celebrated its 10th anniversary in a triumphant gathering in the middle of the city’s CBD.
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