NUS group’s rope bondage Zoom sharing event gets cancelled due to backlash and exposure of members’ identities

Recently, a petition on Change.org surfaced on the internet and it is titled “Stop Promoting Violent Sex at NUS”. According to the description of the petition, the creator of the petition Hope Leow, alleged that tFreedom was organising a talk that “glamorises creative bondage sex”.

tFreedom is a group in the university’s residential college, Tembusu College, that was organising a 90-minute virtual Zoom event – part of their event series “Let’s Talk About Sex”. This group was described on Tembusu College’s website as an “LGBTQIA+-affirming community that aims to build a more diverse and inclusive college”.

In the description, it was also written that the group hosts private gatherings for the LGBTQIA+-identifying members to “create a safe space” for them to “freely express themselves”.

“We organise events to advocate and educate on matters regarding gender and sexuality, fostering greater awareness and understanding amongst Tembusians on such issues. tFreedom also host private gatherings for LGBTQIA+-identifing members to create a safe space for them to freely express themselves.”

“Ultimately, tFreedom aspires to be the pillar of support for LGBTQIA+ Tembusians while actively engaging with the general college community to promote an inclusive residential environment.”

The particular event that was being criticised by Hope Leow was supposed to feature a couple who practise consensual rope bondage from 0101 Studio. The couple would be invited to share how consensual rope bondage allowed them to explore their sensuality and “express creativity”, according to The New Paper.

In the petition, Leow claimed that events with “such content” should be “restricted” because “it facilitates violent sexual fantasies among students”.

The petition creator further suggested that this event would “break the trust of parents”, “promote physically dangerous sex acts that are life-threatening”, and “induce moral harm to students who agonise resisting lewd sexual temptations promoted by tFreedom”.

Not just that, but the petition claimed how tFreedom is “promoting loose sexual behaviour”, which included members talking about their “sex and masturbation” experiences on weekly discussions.

This then led to Leow criticising that such weekly discussion has “no educational value” as the dialogues would “stimulate sexual fantasies”.

Leow further accused Tembusu College of “not being transparent” with applicants and parents about the “radical approach” to its LGBT advocacy, as well as being “irresponsible” for offering official platforms for their children to discuss their “sexual fantasies”.

The petition included links to screenshots taken from tFreedom’s chat, as well as photos and details linked to 0101 Studio.

As of 3 September, the petition gained over 7,900 signatures, and the event had been cancelled.

Comments on the petition

On comments posted under the petition, many Singaporeans who submitted their signatures criticised that tFreedom was “encouraging immoral practices”. They commented that this event “does not serve educational value” and that institutions and universities “should not allow” sex to be promoted.

This event raised concerns among the members of the public, doubting that the students who participated in tFreedom’s events were focused on their studies.

tFreedom’s response

Regarding the backlash tFreedom had been facing, they released a statement on 31 August, wanting to clarify that their group had “never promoted violent sex non-consensual activities”.

tFreedom added that the petition had “misrepresented” the event as one that promotes and facilitates violent sexual fantasies among students.

They further mentioned that Let’s Talk About Sex (LTAS) was aiming to “raise awareness about sex education”, as well as remove the stigma associated with sexual health. LTAS was also said to “create a safe space to discuss sex and sexual well-being” centered around respect and consent, while “supplementing” abstinence education in pre-university schools.

The group was alarmed that this particular petition had exposed the personal details of their members as well as members from 0101 Studio. tFreedom expressed that it left the members “vulnerable to harassment”, thus resulting in the cancellation of this event.

The statement revealed that the exposure of the details had also caused “distress” to the students.

An update from an NUS Associate Professor

TOC received an update from NUS, revealing that the Associate Professor Kelvin Pang, also known as the “Master”, had stated that the cancellation of the event was “necessary” to protect the privacy and well-being of the students. This was because of their personal details being disclosed online.

“Upon further review, the tFreedom talk that was scheduled to be held this week was cancelled and tFreedom’s operations will be put on a hiatus, while we look into the alignment of its activities with the Code of Gender and Sexual Respect, and the educational value we must bring as a college of learning. The cancellation was also necessary to protect the privacy and well-being of our students, as their personal details had been disclosed online.”

Other than that, the “Master” – Prof Pang, emphasised that the college will continue to “create safe spaces” for the students to ask “uncomfortable questions”, as well as learn from discussing complex and multifaceted issues, in a respectful and responsible manner.

The update added that college prioritises the importance of discussing such issues.

Following tFreedom’s official response to the petition, Hope Leow updated the public that the petition had “no intention to harass students or members of the studio”. Leow had urged people to stop harassing the members.

 

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