By Yasmeen Banu
ELEMENT Magazine, Asia’s first alternative men’s high-fashion and lifestyle journal which has a wide range of thought-provoking and feature stories that are connected with the Asian LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community in particular, ran a Valentines Day issue with a photo-spread that showcased loves’ transparency by taking raw black and white shots of couples with different sexualities.
The issue was dedicated to the Health Promotion Board in support of the FAQs on its website that caused a recent uproar over LGBTI relationships. Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan and Pastor Lawrence Khong’s have publicly attempted to differentiate the two forms of relationships
ELEMENT says of Mr Lim in the issue,
He seems to be coming from a place that referenced gay people as a separate life form. Because otherwise, we could not fathom why he would call for a study that inevitably attempts to validate the capacity of human beings to fall in love with one another.
ELEMENT captured moments that reflected a comforting touch, and a glow that blurs gender and sexualities. All the couples have the same look of love, adoration, admiration and happiness in the images.
How could one isolate, freeze that moment, and tell you that it’s not the same? That the way Jeigh looks at Sean with that twinkle in his eyes is different from the way Ischelle looks at Zi Hao. That the way Mon clutches Joey’s hands is different from the way Nicholas held on to Jacqueline’s.
In their photo-spread, ELEMENT incorporated Chinese calligraphy to give the images an Asian touch, daring the assumption that feeble Asian values have contributed to bringing down gay rights movement while easily overlooking the fact “that homosexuality is well-documented in Asian civilization throughout history, whereas your religious beliefs are ‘imported’”.
This Valentine’s Day, ELEMENT displays the relationship that all the couples share, regardless of sexuality.
(Photos taken from ELEMENT Magazine Asia and ELEMENT Valentine’s visual campaign is a collaboration between ELEMENT Magazine and Copperband Photos.)