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Science Centre Singapore halts event on sex and gender after public pushback

Science Centre Singapore has cancelled its upcoming adult-focused session, “What’s the difference between sex and gender?” scheduled for 14 June at Cineleisure, due to negative feedback from individuals critical of the discussed topics.



Science Centre Singapore has cancelled an event intended to discuss the differences between sex and gender after receiving negative feedback from individuals opposed to the topics being discussed.

Scheduled for 14 June at Cineleisure, the session aimed at adults aged 18 and over sparked controversy for some over its content and the selection of speakers.

The Science Centre acknowledged the public feedback on its event post, stating, “Thank you to everyone who has provided us with your feedback about this discussion session. The Science Centre team will take this opportunity to reevaluate our approach to this session.” They also assured that those who purchased tickets will receive a full refund and extended an apology for any inconvenience caused.

A spokesperson for the Science Centre confirmed the cancellation on Monday (3 June), just a day after the event was promoted, attributing the decision to public feedback that expressed concerns about the content to be discussed in the session and the composition of its speakers.

The event, titled “What’s the difference between sex and gender?” was to feature Becca D’Bus, a drag queen; Alexander Teh, an Oogachaga youth counsellor; and Mie Hiramoto, an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Theatre Studies at the National University of Singapore.

Becca D’Bus found the cancellation unsurprising yet underscored the value of the discussion, given the significant public interest it had generated.

Despite the goal of illuminating sociocultural factors that shape societal understanding of sex and gender, the session encountered resistance from those opposing its themes and speakers.

Comments on the Science Centre’s Facebook post ranged from disappointment by those anticipating the talk to criticism over the absence of speakers with a scientific background and concerns about potential bias.

Some commentators expressed fears about the event’s suitability for younger audiences, even though it was limited to individuals over 18.

Lim Peter wrote, “Excellent decision! Thank you for being sensitive to the conservative majority. Looking forward to better review of talks before offering them. Keep up the good work”

Louis Lam expressed his concerns about the Science Centre Singapore (SSC) hosting the event, questioning the alignment of the subject matter with scientific principles.

He wrote, “Seriously: What has ideology got to do with science? Is SSC trying to redefine science, or support efforts of redefining science by supporting events on ideologies? Or worse, is SSC as a stat board under MOE using ‘science’ as a pretext to promote gender ideology (not science) which the govt has explicitly said will avoid since it’s divisive for the Sg society?”

His comments reflect a skepticism regarding the integration of ideological themes into the framework of scientific discussion at a government-supported institution.

However, other community members voiced disappointment over the event’s cancellation, with one noting, “I was really interested in this discussion.”

Eugene Lim, a commenter, argued forcefully for the event’s necessity, stating, “The fact that homophobes in the comments are trying their absolute hardest to bully, discriminate, and enforce a social order of wilful ignorance and disregard is the EXACT reason why Science Centre Singapore must, as an educational institution, push forth with this discussion.”

Taara Kumar lamented the missed opportunity, saying, “This session would have been a good place to learn more about gender and sexuality! I applaud your team for the initiative. Discussions backed by sociocultural knowledge, lived experiences, and research are crucial for a healthy society.”

Joey Quan critiqued the opposition, commenting, “The old homophobes commenting all over this post are hilarious. This was a ticketed event that had been planned for months. If you didn’t want to learn about it, you could have simply not attended.”

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I tell you, this 4G govt is f*king CONFUSED. They want to build residential condos in the SCIENCE Park. And this is after building a HOTEL there. So, no surprise that they wanted to hold an ideology event in a science setting 🙂