It was launched in late April 2013 and billed itself as the “voice of gay Asia.” The BBC recorded the following video interview with the publication's founders, Hiro Mizuhara (left) and Noel Ng, at the time of its inauguration:
Mizuhara and Ng hoped their magazine would provide information and support for the Asian LGBT community. They consulted lawyers and were told that the strict censorship of LGBT productions only applied to broadcast and print media, not online. So Element magazine was published only in a digital format. When asked why they chose Singapore to launch the magazine, Mizuhara, who holds a Chinese passport with permanent residency in Japan, and Ng, who is not gay himself, replied: "We are nervous but Element magazine is not a gay rights magazine. It is a lifestyle magazine that takes care of Asian gay men. What we want to do is for the magazine to be out there for the community, especially young gay men who may think that being gay is wrong because of what they read in mainstream media. We also try to balance entertainment and education in Element magazine, so instead of just fashion and grooming, we cover issues like HIV or how to come out."
ELEMENT's first issue featured interviews with dancers at gay clubs in Thailand and profiles of gay-friendly luxury resorts in Asia, keeping with the regional focus of the magazine. Advertisers included fashion label Paul Smith, and Avalon, a glamorous nightclub at the [[[Marina Bay Sands]]] integrated resort.
Published by Singapore-based independent media company Epic Media, the periodical aimed to have 10,000 digital subscribers and a Mandarin version to tap into the Chinese market in 2014.
Element works around media rules in Singapore. Print magazines distributed in the city-state require a license through the government’s Media Development Authority (MDA), which regulates and censors media content. The online world, by comparison, is regulated with a “light touch,” circumventing many of the same license applications mandatory in printed content.
The bi-monthly magazine is only available in Apple and Android app stores and costs US$1.99 an issue.
Asia Pink Awards 2014
- Main article: Asia Pink Awards 2014
ELEMENT magazine organised the inaugural Asia Pink Awards in 2014 with the aim of making it the region’s premier LGBTQI event which celebrates the emergence of a progressive, equal Asia. It was held on Sunday, 16 March 2014 at Dream Factory, 76A Peck Seah Street.
- OG magazine
- Glamour Backstage
- PLUTO magazine (formerly PLUguide)
- Dear Straight People
- Singapore gay literature
This article was written by Roy Tan.