***I freely admit my pro-lgbt rights bias, and am openly bisexual. Anti-LGBT comments will be deleted, and you may be banned–because it’s my blog and I don’t have to play fair on this.****
It’s no secret that Singapore is not supportive of LGBT rights. This is absolutely a huge source of emotional conflict for me–to live here as a bisexual woman and to raise children who are welcoming of all persons and sexual identities–and one I don’t talk about here. However, due to some recent personal experiences, I feel it necessary to lay out the current state of things and to provide resources at the bottom of the post.
A survey completed in April of 2013 by Singapore’s Institute of Policy Studies showed that 78% of 4,131 respondents (mostly citizens) felt that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is “always wrong/almost always wrong,” compared to only 11% who felt that it is “not wrong most of the time/not wrong at all.” source
377a, the law which criminalizes sex between men, is still in effect, even though there have been recent legal challenges. The Prime Minister supports upholding 377a, and has stated so publicly. There are churches-which are exports of the uber conservative megachurches of America-who actively fight against any change in the law, ironically citing “Asian Values” even though what they’re selling is American Social Neoconservatism.
Recently there was a huge uproar over the Health Promotion Board’s FAQ on Sexuality.
The FAQ was published by the HPB last week. In it, the Board addressed the issue of homosexuality and provided its answers to questions about the topic. These questions included: “What is homosexuality/bisexuality?”; “Am I normal? Is being gay or bisexual a mental illness? Do I need to seek medical help?”; “Can homosexuals have long-lasting relationships?”The HPB’s answer to the last question was:
“Yes, homosexuals can have long-lasting relationships. A homosexual relationship, like any other, is based on trust, love, commitment and support.” source
One of the loudest voices of the anti-lgbt movement in Singapore is Lawrence Kong, leader of the megachurch Faith Community Baptist Church.. He is one of the people behind a reprehensible document that was leaked on February 15th, called Family. Foundation. Future. Support 377a A guide for giving feedback. It is a nauseating read, so here is a video of two drag queens reading it for you in an act of subversion.
Because of these attitudes, coming out in Singapore is often a difficult act, and one which can find you lacking in resources and support. However, you aren’t alone….
- Oogachaga is your best and first resource. They are a counseling and resources center. If you need support during the coming out process (or questioning, or anything) they will help you find a counselor who won’t condemn you or try harmful reparative therapies. They have online resources, support groups and emailcounseling as well. Their hotline number is 62262002 and is open Tues-Thurs 7-10pm and Sat 2-6pm.
- Congregaytion is a website run by Oogachaga. Here is their list of various support groups–men, women, transgender, youth, etc.
- I Will Survive is both a website and an anthology of personal stories from LGBT individuals in Singapore.
- Pink Dot is the annual LGBT event–the closest thing we have to Pride. Over the past 5 years it has swelled to a 20+K person attended event. This year it will be June 28th. Go to their FB page here.
- Free Community Church is an LGBT friendly church if you’re Christian and seeking a safe space. They have a support group called Safehaven.
- Pelangi Pride Centre is a secular library and resource centre housed in the Free Community Church. It has fiction and non fiction resources. Open Saturdays 2-6pm, and is volunteer run. (newly listed resource) Find their catalog here.
- AWARE is Singapore’s gender equality organization. Here is a link to their beyond 377a page. (newly added)
- WTF! Zine is a new singapore based relationship/sex/sexuality resource. There are only a few LGBT articles at the moment, but they can be found here. (newly added)
- Fridae is actually an Asia-wide LGBT portal, but worth joining.
- Wild Rice is a local theater troupe organized by Ivan Heng. They often perform LGBT friendly fare–last year brought us an all male production of “the Importance of Being Earnest” and a reading of “The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” (which was followed by a q&a discussing, among other things, the state of LGBT affairs in Singapore).
- Dr Sketchy events are LGBT friendly, and sometimes hosted by the ever awesome Becca D’Bus.
- March 15, 2014 go see Marco Polo, and attend the post event talk.
- March 16, 2014 attend the Asia Pink Awards (details & free pass can be found here)
- Scarleteen is a great sex education website. While primarily aimed at teens, I still find it useful. The articles are well written and written in a non judgmental voice–the information is presented in as unbiased a manner as possible. Here is a link to their sexual identity main page.
- It gets better is an organization started by Dan Savage with a web, facebook, twitter, youtube and google+ presence. It allows LGBT adults to speak out and directly to those who are questioning or feel alone. Hearing personal stories may help you feel less isolated. Here’s a link to a It Gets Better video from Singapore.
- The Trevor Project is a hotline aimed at LGBT youth, who are at much higher than average risk of suicide. While the hotline phone number is US based, they have online support using Trevor Chat.
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is an organization that does international advocacy on LGBT issues.
Have more resources? Leave them in the comments!