Go big or go home…

I wanna take you to a gay bar

Posted on: August 3, 2009

Singapore is a bit confused when it comes to gay sex.

Lesbian sex is allowed, but outdated legal policy means hot boy-on-boy action is outlawed.

There was some excitement at the start of the year when India, which shares the same penal code (inherited from the colonial British), repealed Section 377 and decriminalised gay sex.

Would Singapore follow suit? The locals were hopeful…

Nope. In a baffling statement, Law Minister K Shanmugam said 377 would stay, because Singaporeans do not accept homosexuality. Huh?

It’s ok though; Shanmugam added “We have the law. We say it won’t be enforced. Is it totally clear? We, sometimes in these things, have to accept a bit of messiness.”

Yep, totally clear. You think the law is wrong, but you aren’t going to change it. Ok.

What does that mean for Singapore’s gay community? The city ain’t no Folsom, but during the noughties it has waxed (and waned) as Asia’s gay capital.

To find out what life is like now, your intrepid reporters hit gay club Play on Saturday and indulged in a little vox popping (although we were mostly there to dance and drink beer).

J sometimes denies his aptitude for journalism, but he’s too modest – he was off and away, grabbing men and demanding of them, “Are you Singaporean? Are you gay? What’s your life like?” Fortunately most guys were happy to stop and chat for five minutes.

Here’s what we learned:

Everyone was out to their friends and family.

White-collar workers tended not to be out at work, either because they felt it would affect their job prospects or because they didn’t consider it their colleagues’ business.

Air stewards *are* out at work. (This guy lived in London, and has also lived in Sydney since leaving Singapore – he said he wouldn’t move back to Asia.)

People are happy with the degree of freedom and acceptance they have. They describe the community as strong and see it as an important part of their lives.

It’s possible this picture was a little one-sided – when you’re out having a drink and a laugh with your friends life generally looks most rosy – but it was nice to meet so many cheerful young men.


2 Responses to "I wanna take you to a gay bar"

Last line sounds like something from a spinster aunt who’s unwittingly found herself in the middle of G-A-Y: “They’re all very cheerful, these young chaps, aren’t they dear?”

Slightly intended. Also riffing on gay=happy.

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