Singapore, Asia

Singapore is an island microstate located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. At 707.1 km2 (273.0 sq mi) Singapore is one of four remaining true city-states in the world. It is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. Its modern economy is focused on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside massive entrepôt (shipping transfer) trade. Singapore is the 5th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita.

Homosexual sex is illegal in Singapore. Constitutional rights for gay people are nonexistent for the most part, and penalties for crimes relating to homosexual acts is up to 2 years' jail. However, in October 2007, during the Penal Code review and repeal of the criminal status, the Singapore government declared that private, consensual, adult homosexual sex would no longer be prosecuted but that its illegality would remain as a statement of the values of the "conservative majority". Nevertheless, gay groups are active and constantly challenge the government. 

 

News & Reports:

 

Thousands attend Pink Dot, Singapore’s Pride: Take a look at the 30 best pictures

Despite restrictions and tight security, Singapore’s Pink Dot festival was a massive success Singapore’s annual Pink Dot, their Pride event, drew thousands of people to the city today (1 July). Despite new restrictions keeping foreigners out of the event, with barricades around the rally site, many came to celebrate. Only people from Singapore or permanent… Read more »

Circuit Parties Began Fading in North America a Decade Ago—Why Are They So Hot in Asia?

On Saturday, hordes of gay men and other dance lovers will descend upon a club space in Manhattan for the Black Party, an edgier, kinkier underground variant of the “circuit party,” a gay institution that has, for better or worse, defined a certain strain of macho, drug-embracing, sex-positive party culture since their initial appearance around… Read more »

‘People Like Us’ – never prouder, never more real

First gay online series in Singapore gives a glimpse into the lives of gay men in a country where sex between two men is still a crime Just yesterday morning, while I was doing the usual scroll through my Facebook feed, I was alerted to a news article – the Ministry of Health in Singapore… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Being LGBT In Southeast Asia: Stories Of Abuse, Survival And Tremendous Courage

LGBT groups in Southeast Asia are working double-time to bring about change. This is a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there. For the next nine days, we’ll be telling the stories of each country… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Singapore ends ban on visitors with HIV

Singapore will no longer ban people with HIV from visiting the country. The country moved to change its two-decade old rules, which were drawn up at a time when there was no known treatment for AIDS and little was known about HIV. The rules had permanently blacklisted all people with HIV from travelling to the… Read more »

Singapore blogger found guilty of contempt for post criticizing anti-gay law

Prominent LGBTI rights activist could face jail time Singaporean LGBTI rights activist and blogger Alex Au has been found guilty for a post critical of the city’s anti-gay law. The High Court yesterday (22 January) ruled that the article published in October 2013 posed ‘a real threat of undermining public confidence in the administration of… Read more »

Singapore: Human Rights groups condemn court for upholding colonial-era anti-gay law

Human rights groups have condemned a court in Singapore for rejecting a challenge to the country’s colonial-era law criminalising gay sex. Section 337A of the country’s penal code criminalises “any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person… Read more »

Singapore is becoming more tolerant despite anti-gay prejudices

Singapore: Despite a law that criminalizes same-sex relations and anti-gay prejudices, Singapore has over the years shown that it is becoming more tolerant towards the gay community. “As of late, Singapore’s gay community has been rapidly growing and becoming more visible. Many Singaporeans often boast that their country has the best gay scene in all… Read more »

Singapore celebrates 10th LGBT pride festival

Indignation – Singapore’s only LGBT pride festival featuring performances, a pink run, picnic, talks and discussions – will run for the month of August Over 200 LGBTIs and their allies filled the historic former Parliamentary Debating Chamber at The Arts House where ContraDiction – the opening event of the month-long Indignation LGBT pride season –… Read more »

First Asian Pink Awards honor 15 amazing heroes

Inspirational advocates from across Asia share their stories at landmark awards ceremony in Singapore Asia’s LGBTI heroes have been honored at the first Asian Pink Awards in Singapore. Campaigners and company representatives flew in from all over the region and as far away as Europe for the event last night (16 March), organized by Asian… Read more »

Singapore LGBT Update | It’s All Happening in Asia’s Smallest Sovereign State

A lot has been going on in the last few days in terms of gay issues in Singapore. There’s been polls revealed, comments from the Prime Minister, and petitions relating to the Health Promotion Board’s information on homosexuality. A recent survey released by the Institute of Policy Studies has revealed that more than 70 percent… Read more »

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board declares being gay is normal

Singapore’s leading public health organization has declared that LGBTI people are normal and not mentally ill in publishing an online Q&A on LGBTI issues – though homosexuality is still technically banned in the South East Asian nation Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has said that gay people are normal and not suffering from mental illness in… Read more »

Singapore keeps its ban on ‘grossly indecent act between males’

Judge dismisses challenge to anti-gay law, saying prohibition based on moral issue Singapore’s court has struck another blow to gay rights, refusing for the second time in this year to strike down a colonial law that criminalizes sex between men. The first Singaporean who had contested the law nearly three years ago, Tan Eng Hong,… Read more »

Singapore High Court upholds anti-gay law in Tan Eng Hong’s case

Singapore High court Justice Quentin Loh today upheld the law which criminalises sex between men. Singapore High Court Justice Quentin Loh today released a judgement in the Constitutional challenge of statute 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, upholding the law which criminalises sex between men and provides a jail term of up to two years.… Read more »

Record turnout for Singapore’s LGBT Pink Dot rally

With an estimated record turn out of 21,000, Singapore’s Pink Dot rally to support the acceptance of LGBTs has become the second largest gay-affirmative event in Asia in five years, behind the annual Taiwan Pride Parade in Taipei. It was a record turnout for Singapore’s Pink Dot rally on Saturday night as an estimated 21,000… Read more »

Gay culture gaining momentum in Singapore

Although homosexuality is against the law, the gay community in this city-state has become more prominent recently. Singapore – Homosexuality in this Southeast Asian city-state has been illegal here for more than a century, dating back to law under colonial British rule. In a country that still lashes convicted criminals with a cane, sexual contact… Read more »

New web censorship rule bans gay content in Singapore

Websites accessed in Singapore subject to regulations that prohibit ‘material [that] advocates homosexuality or lesbianism’ The Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore is introducing a tough new rule that will censor websites that are read from inside the country, even if they are not hosted there. The new rule, which will come into effect on… Read more »

Quick, strong support for appeal of Singapore anti-gay law

“We are seeing the light at the end of tunnel. … We are no longer walking alone, or in tens or hundreds, we are now walking in tens of thousands.” — Bryan Choong In this article, Singapore counseling center manager Bryan Choong welcomes people’s rapid, positive response to the fund-raising campaign supporting the appeal of… Read more »

Singapore High Court rejects repeal of gay sex ban for men

Singapore’s High Court has r­ejected a petition to repeal an archaic law criminalising sex between men. AFP reports the court, which is part of the Supreme Court, said it was up to parliament to repeal a provision in the penal code known as Section 377A – the legality of which has been questioned by a… Read more »

Singapore’s High Court upholds anti-gay sex law

Strait Times in Singapore reports: The High Court has dismissed a legal claim by gay partners Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee that Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between two men, was discriminatory and unconstitutional. In his 92-page judgment, Justice Quentin Loh said that Singapore’s society in the midst of change, and… Read more »

Singapore Gay Magazine Finds a Safe Space

In a world filled with headlines about gay marriage, the launch of a magazine for gay men might not be expected to cause a stir. But in conservative Singapore, where criminal law still targets sex between men, Element magazine is so avant-garde that it plans to publish only in the digital world. “Government licenses were… Read more »

Singapore PM criticised for defending anti-gay sex law

Members of the LGBT community in Singapore today expressed their disappointment and outrage over the prime minister’s reasoning as to why section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises gay sex should remain. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted by Today newspaper as saying: “Why is that law on the books? Because it’s… Read more »

We are family

The idea that “the family unit comprises of a man as Father, a woman as Mother, and Children” is not biblical, writes Rev Miak Siew, executive pastor of Singapore’s Free Community Church and member of gay advocacy group People Like Us. Here he responds to a Singapore pastor’s recent comments that the acceptance of gays… Read more »

Survey shows Singaporeans more accepting of gay people

Academic study shows more positive and less negative attitudes towards gay people from 2005 to 2010 A survey published last month shows that Singaporeans became more tolerant of gay people from 2005 to 2010. The study published in the Asian Journal of Social Psychology showed that 64.5% of respondents held negative attitudes towards homosexuals in… Read more »

Our sisters in Singapore

Gay Star News interviews leading lesbian rights activist in Singapore, Jean Chong The LGBT rights movement in Singapore has been mainly dominated by gay men, but Gay Star News met Jean Chong of lesbian group Sayoni and discovered that sisters are doing it for themselves. Did you have any role models when you were growing… Read more »

Gay parents in Singapore

There aren’t many openly LGBT parents in Singapore, but there are some who’re willing to share their stories. Meet K, a bisexual mum, and P, a gay dad. Here in Singapore, we’ve heard a lot about gay parents. We’ve watched them in movies like The Kids Are All Right and in (illegally downloaded) TV shows… Read more »

Singapore’s gay rights (and blogging) pioneer speaks

Gay Star News talks to Alex Au, born in 1952, one of the pioneers of gay activism and blog writing in Singapore During his lifetime Alex Au has witnessed Singapore’s gay scene move from the underground to the public eye, police tactics move from entrapment and ‘pogroms’ against gay men to ‘non-enforcement’ of the anti-homosexuality… Read more »

How can a pink dot change society?

Gay Star News talks to one of the organizers of Singapore’s Pink Dot, an annual LGBT awareness-raising festival ‘The first Pride in X country’ makes headlines around the world, but what if country creates their own LGBT pride event from scratch? That’s what activists in Singapore have done with Pink Dot. Instead of a rainbow… Read more »

Queer Singapore: Illiberal Citizenship and Mediated Cultures

Editors Audrey Yue and Jun Zubillaga-Pow have curated a solid collection of essays looking at LGBT Singapore from multiple perspectives, examining in particular the coexistence in the nation of institutionalised repression and tolerance of the gay community. Queer Singapore: Illiberal Citizenship and Mediated Cultures Edited by Audrey Yue and Jun Zubillaga-Pow Paperback 268 pages Published… Read more »

Yale hosts Singaporean gay rights movement lecture

Lecture informs debate over America’s most gay-friendly Ivy League university opening a campus in a state where homosexuality is illegal In an attempt to placate the controversy around America’s most gay-friendly Ivy League university opening a campus in a state where homosexuality is illegal, Yale hosted a lecture about the gay rights movement in Singapore… Read more »

LGBT travel steps out of the closet at ITB Asia

With gay and lesbian travel being one of the fastest growing market segments in the industry, ITB Asia, Asia’s largest travel trade show, has for the first time set up a “Pink Corner” at the 3-day event in Singapore. It’s the first time a Pink Corner is being hosted at ITB Asia, a major travel… Read more »

The ASEAN declaration – Good news or bad news?

We now know what the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will say. Is it good news or bad news for LGBTI? Douglas Sanders looks at the issues. First the bad news. We are not named. In the anti-discrimination provisions there is no reference to “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” or “gender expression.” Perhaps we don’t… Read more »

Singapore Court of Appeal: “Continued existence of s377A causes gay men to be unapprehended felons”

In a judgment that has taken nearly a year, Tan Eng Hong and his lawyer M Ravi are now one step closer to challenging the constitutionality of section 377A of the Penal Code that prohibits sexual relations between men. Singapore’s Court of Appeal today overturned High Court judge Lai Siu Chiu’s decision on 15 March… Read more »

Singapore: 15,000 gather to show support for LGBTs at Pink Dot rally

It is a record turnout for Pink Dot, the only public rally to advocate LGBT acceptance in Singapore, and which has even inspired similar events around the world. Watch the video here. Singapore’s Hong Lim Park turned into a sea of shimmering pink lights on Saturday night as 15,000 people gathered to show their support… Read more »

New Regional Community Youth Leader And Policy Briefing Paper Announced

(Bangkok)   The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) has been a leader in mobilising attention and action to promote the health and human rights of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people since 2007. Today, APCOM reaffirms its commitment to working with young MSM and transgender people by supporting… Read more »

Gay activist Alex Au wins Singapore Humanist of the Year award

Alex Au, a Singapore gay activist, social commentator and former Fridae columnist, has been awarded the Humanist of the Year 2012 by the Humanist Society (Singapore) for being a “vocal defender of Singapore’s secularism and an outspoken critic of religious extremism, pseudoscientific institutions and creationism.” Alex Au, a well known figure in LGBT activism in… Read more »

Homoerotic traditions in pre-modern Asian & Pacific Island societies

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities are commonly thought of as relatively recent, western, social constructs… but what do we know about non-heteronormative expressions of sexuality in historical Chinese, Korean, South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures? There is a very wide misconception that ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender’ (LGBT) constitutes a purely modern phenomenon… Read more »

How LGBT-friendly are Singapore universities?

Ng Yi-Sheng, a regular Fridae contributor and openly gay creative writing teacher at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, looks at the state of queer acceptance in Singapore’s universities – and wonders if the opening of the new Yale-NUS college will improve things. In July 2013, Singapore’s very first liberal arts college is opening up its classrooms… Read more »