Gym user who wore LGBT tank top did not break rules, says Safra

PHOTO: Koh Jee Leong's Facbook

Is it okay to wear clothing with a LGBT message in a Safra gym?

No, according to a few club members who were seemingly unhappy when gym user Koh Jee Leong wore a tank top with the phrase "gay but not yet equal" to the gym at Safra Mount Faber. 

But Safra, a recreational club for national service men, has stepped in to declare its official position: It is okay to wear it, adding the man didn't break any rules.

"We have also spoken to the gym users who gave the feedback. From our conversation with Mr Koh, we believe there was no intent to cause discomfort to other gym goers so we hope this can be resolved amicably," said Safra in a report on Channel NewsAsia.

The controversy started when Mr Koh turned up at the gym at Mount Faber on Wednesday (Jul 12) in that tank top.

Photo: Safra Mount Faber

The gym manager told him a few people had previously complained to him, accusing Mr Koh of "trying to change a sensitive social policy or issue", Mr Koh wrote on Facebook.

"I asked him how many people complained. He repeated, some, and elaborated, more than one but not many," Mr Koh wrote in his post that has since been shared 400 times.

"He (gym manager) also said that 'the social issue' was sensitive nationally, and that SAFRA could not allow any social advocacy."

A few users of the SAFRA Mount Faber Club Gym complained about my tank top to the gym manager. They accused me of trying...

Posted by Jee Leong Koh on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mr Koh, a Singaporean poet based in New York, is a frequent user of the gym when he returns to Singapore.

He explained to the manager that he was not trying to change any social policy but was "just wearing a tank top specially designed by a New York designer".

He added in his post that the words did not refer to Singapore at all.

The gym manager agreed that the complaint was "subjective," but pointed out that "the majority could be dissenting quietly".

"I asked him what he would like me to do. He said he was not going to ban me from the gym but would ask me to be sensitive to other gym users," said Mr Koh.

In its statement, Safra added that it tries to mediate when disagreements between gym-goers crop up.