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|Lesbian Resources: SINGAPORE
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SINGAPORE -- area code (65)
Advisory: Singapore is politically conflicted about the natural desires of its citizens, straight and gay. While sporting one of Asia's most vibrant and fun gay scenes and a huge Wikipedia entry on Singapore Gay History, homosexual activity remains illegal in Singapore along with oral sex, meaning that most sexually active Singaporeans, gay or not, are urban outlaws. Vestiges of antique British sodomy laws remain in force despite sloganeering for "Asian values", a weak disguise for conservative religion-based discrimination against sexual minorities (although Christians and fundamentalists are a minority in Singapore society, they hold half of the civil service jobs). Outrageously, while banning gay and lesbian self-help groups, in 2006 government officials awarded a large grant of public money to a homophobic Christian group that tries to turn gays straight. Fundamentalist religious groups are paid to teach lop-sided human sexuality courses in public schools. Hotel rooms and private clubs are considered public places under law.|
Singapore's first public GLBT pride festival, Indignation, took place during the month of Aug in 2005. The arts, especially theater, have been openly exploring the subject of homosexuality since the 1990s. Police harassment and entrapment of gays has nearly vanished following Lee Kuan Yew's unexpected 1998 CNN statement that "what we are doing as a government is to leave people to live their own lives so long as they don't impinge on other people. I mean, we don't harass anybody." Most gay business owners have taken these words to heart and the scene has quickly become more open, diverse, and world-class.
Singapore has a lingering PR problem from its years of threatening gay citizens with the rotten rattan of its buggery-obsessed former colonial masters. Let’s lay that nonsense to rest: these days you won't be arrested for sharing a bed with your lover or chewing gum with that gorgeous salesgirl you just chatted up at Starbucks. You don't need to withhold your pink dollars in a vote against the dinosaur technocrats because pink dollars are fueling a renaissance of lesbian-owned and managed businesses across the island. The tourist area of Chinatown already has several dozen rainbow venues filling up heritage buildings and attracting a steady flow of local clientele and in-the-know regional visitors.
What will you get in place of homophobia and newspaper exposes? Southeast Asia's best cuisines collected together in one place, safe and clean multi-ethnic neighborhoods ripe for exploring, shopping malls up the wazoo, cheap world-class hotels, sport-spa-and-health legal highs, and rollicking nightlife.
Don't assume that Singaporeans are backward. Global access to information and the rapid economic advancement of this small island nation have created a mobile and progressive generation of educated, fit, English-speaking women of diverse cultural backgrounds. The art of conversation is alive and well here and you will make fast friends who won't be afraid to challenge your thinking with their own opinions. Green, modern and organized, The Lion City is also a haven for well-to-do expats.
Officials stopped harassing gay venues at the end of the last century. The government has been officially hiring open homosexuals into the civil service for years now and gay and lesbian talents are sought after in the work force as the country strives to maintain its Asian "tiger" status through increased diversity. This new pragmatism seems set to continue.
The population of Singapore is over 4.5 million people, which means that more than 180,000 Utopians live on this island along with an even larger number of self-professed metrosexual bi gals who also participate in the local lesbian scene.
A general and social mailing list, RedQuEEn! is oldest email discussion list for queer women living in Singapore. Since 1998, the list has grown to more than 1200 subscribers. It is intended as a fun, friendly, and supportive list and includes everything from humor to serious discussion.
A forum and publishing platform for Asian queer women based in Singapore. Its main aim is to promote vibrancy within the community and to educate by informing the public with news and information of interest to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women.
- Singapore Gay & Lesbian News
- Singapore Lesbian Scene Updates message forum
- Travel in Singapore message forum
- Women in Singapore message forum
- Additional Links and Resources
Navigating the local lesbian scene is easy with our interactive Utopia Map of Gay & Lesbian Singapore:
- ADLUS (Adventurers Like US) is a group for GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi and transgender) people who enjoy outdoor sports and adventurous activities, nature walks and conservation.
- AIDS/HIV organizations and information
Singapore's first public gay pride festival took place in Aug 2005 and is set to repeat in 2006 with larger premises. The name is a foil to Singapore's melting pot National Day celebration, with its indigenous GLBT citizens indignant for being criminalized and discriminated against.
- Pelangi Pride Center
21 Tanjong Pagar, 04-01, Utopia Map, email. Established in collaboration with HIV/STI prevention programs of AfA. The center is comprised of a library of 700+ GLBT-themed books (open for browsing/borrowing every Sat, 4-8pm). All are welcome to hang out inside the (no smoking) café or out on
the terrace, and enjoy drinks & desserts. They also offer counseling and referrals for medical, legal and other services.
- PLU (People Like Us)
PO Box 0299, Raffles City Post Office, Singapore 911710, email. Singapore's first grass-roots organization for men and women was silenced by the government. Many young professionals confident of their identities attended their popular topical forums. Their official mission was to promote awareness and understanding of the issues and problems concerning gay, lesbian and bisexual persons. Behind the scenes they directly addressed reversing discrimination against gays by lobbying police and government authorities. Their petition to the Registrar of Societies for official recognition was rejected on May 7, 1997, and their two subsequent appeals, all the way up to the Prime Minister's office, were declined without reason. They were then ordered to cease all activities or be subject to heavy penalties against organizers and members.
Email. A group of Singapore-based teachers, educators and supportive colleagues from a range of institutions and backgrounds. They offer support to their members through regular meetings and social events. Their long-term mission is to achieve a situation in Singapore schools in which each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Gay teachers who are interested in joining this group should send an email.
- Women's Nite
Email. A safe, neutral and alcohol-free gathering for lesbians and bisexual women. The event is held on the last Sat of every month. Over a potluck dinner, they hold discussions on wide-ranging topics like self-acceptance, homophobia, relationships and identity. The monthly Women's Nite was started in Dec, 2003.
- Mango Travel
70A Duxton Rd, Utopia Map, 6224-3171, email. Singapore's first boutique travel agency, focusing on the gay and lesbian for both incoming and outgoing travel. Their services include booking of hotels, air tickets, airport transfers, sightseeing tours, gift vouchers, and more.
- Neptune Group Pte Ltd
12 Regent St, 6728-0722, FAX 6729-9989, email. Gay-owned yacht sales and brokerage, yacht charters, corporate events and private functions, yacht supplies, services and maintenance. Their million dollar yacht is cozy and modern - plush sofas, stainless steel kitchen, granite counters. Multiple rooms for sleep-overs belowdecks, breezy party space with barbeque on the roof. A perfect locale for your private party, pride cruise, exclusive dinner party or birthday! Utopia Member Discount
- Perspective Journeys
8127-2723, email. Explore Singapore with an anthropologist. Gain perspective into how yesterday interacts with today to produce the cultural landscape and how it relates to you as a tourtist or business person. Gay-owned and licensed by the Singapore Tourism Board for specialty heritage tours. Utopia Member Discount
- Tour Guide Service in Singapore
9666-1020, email. Licensed tourist guide to Singapore. Available for hire for personal/small group tour guiding. Experience the sights and sounds of Singapore along with its history, culture, heritage, food, and night scene. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Utopia Member Discount
Click here for Singapore hotels and accommodations.
- 2 Queens Party
Thumper, Goodwood Park Hotel. First Tue monthly is this popular women-only event.
- Same Café Bar
208 South Bridge Rd, Utopia Map, 9842-7849. A gay-owned, karaoke club that is especially welcoming to bears, chubs and their admirers. Great sound system to accompany your crooning (dining area is separated from the karaoke room to ensure a quieter space for chatting). Friendly and helpful service. They serve cocktails, "mocktails" (non-alcoholic), beer and wine. Pub and karaoke after 8:30pm until closing.
The Face Maker
#02-46 Orchard Plaza, 150 Orchard Rd, Utopia Map, 6735-0438, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly spa using Dermalogica products. Enjoy complete care for your face and body by a professional and friendly male therapist. Feel rejuvenated in a relaxed and cosy environment in the heart of Orchard Rd. Services include: body scrub, ear candling and hair waxing. Call for appointment. Utopia Member Discount
Email. Sport Massage for women, by women. Deep tissue massage with active release techniques.
- The Garden Slug (international)
55 Lorong L Telok Kurau, #01-59/61 Bright Centre (on Lorong L a few shops down from the intersection), 9006-4163, email. This gay and lesbian-run local diner serves hearty, wholesome, home-cooked fare such as soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and sweets (try their signature Brownie Popsicle!). There are also dishes to please vegetarians. Very casual and unpretentious. Free Wi-fi, community bookshelf and pet-friendly! Resonably priced. Also available for special events and functions. See map and directions on their website. Utopia Member Discount
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
2/F 29A Seah St (in a refurbished shophouse next to Raffles Hotel, one block from Raffle's City), Utopia Map, 6336-7298, FAX 6336-7298, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly concept boutique that offers killer premium jeans, tees, bags and essential accessories. Brand queens ahoy: they feature Freitag, Tretorn, GSUS, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Headquarter, etc. Check out their original bags made from recycled advertising tarps! Same owners as WOOONDERLAND.
#02-10 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Rd, Utopia Map, 6738 0002, FAX none, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly WOOONDERLAND stocks nothing that is run-of-the-mill. Check out their exclusive brands like 55DSL, Dr Denim Jeansmaker, Edwin, Something, Airbag Craftworks and more. Same owners as Actually.
- haar Attic, the salon
Sunshine Plaza #01-13, 91 Bencoolen St, Utopia Map, 6835-9811, email. Pamper yourself and style up your hair before your meet-ups. Their male hairstylists are standing by to serve in an exclusive, classic ambience. Gay and lesbian friendly. Closed Tue. Utopia Member Discount
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Golden girl at the 2012 Phuket Gay Festival.