20 fabulous signs you grew up gay in Singapore

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1. Tanjong Pagar was — still is! — your second home

You know the drill: Dinner at Eight, drinks at Backstage Bar followed by Tantric, all-night dancing at Taboo.

2. The first time you got drunk was on Blue Spins

A deadly concoction of more than four spirits, served at campy Backstage in the heart of Chinatown as well as nearby Out Bar and Tantric on Neil Road.

3. Pelangi Pride Centre was your library

Singapore’s only resource centre for books on LGBTQs was your go-to place for fiction and non-fiction titles on coming out, relationships and matters pertaining to HIV.

4. Going to the bookstores meant hanging out at the ‘gender studies’ section

Oh how we miss Borders!

5. ‘Peculiar Chris’ was your bedside reading

The first Singapore novel to discuss gay themes, written by Johann S. Lee, it’s the story of a man who declares he’s gay while entering National Service. W!ld Rice adapted it into a play which they named (but of course) Happy Endings.

6. You had picnics at Hong Lim Park

Only on Pink Dot day, the annual gathering that promotes the freedom to love regardless of sexual orientation.

7. You met your first real friends at Young Out Here

The support group was created in 2006 to provide a support circle and resource pool for LGBTQ youths who are struggling to find their own identity and gain acceptance into society.

8. You subscribed to SiGneL and RedQuEEn! 

These email lists helped disperse community news and went straight to your “priority” inbox.

9. You could walk to 21 Tanjong Pagar Road blindfolded

Play was home to riotous nights spent downing jägerbombs and dancing to Mariah Carey & K-Pop. Alas, the spot is now but a happy memory.

10. You bookmarked Gay SG Confessions on Facebook

The anonymous confession page served a bigger purpose – to highlight inspiring and heart-breaking stories of LGBTQs in Singapore, many of whom have not come out to their loved ones yet.

11. ‘Intro’ and ‘seek’ are your versions of ‘hello’

This is as true now for apps like Jack’d and Tinder as it was before for chatrooms like #SGBOY and #GSG.

12. You shopped for clothes at Newurbanmale

The fashion label was quickly co-opted by dragonboaters and sporty types who didn’t mind cheeky slogans like “to bear or not to bear” and “life is like a rainbow”.

13. August was a double-celebration month 

National Day + LGBTQ pride month.

14. Songkran was your version of ZoukOut

It may be a Thai event, but all the Singapore boys know this as the annual three-day gay pilgrimage to the Land of Smiles.

15. GV’s Love & Pride was the only film festival important to you

You cried while watching Blue Is The Warmest Colour last year, and had your heart broken when you saw Brokeback Mountain in 2008.

16. VOGUELICIOUS were your role models

Also known as the “male Pussycat Dolls”, many of their members became staples in drag queen culture here – Izzy went on as Vanda Miss Joaquim and Luke as Layla On Fire.

17. You think Kumar is a goddess

Because she’s perfection in drag.

18. You had a crush on Alex Au

He may be known today for his contempt of court cases, but his feverish updates on any LGBTQ matter in Singapore make his blog, Yawning Bread, a must-read.

19. You’d organize a tea party for Vincent Wijeysingha

Singapore’s first openly-gay politician, who publicly came out on Facebook two years after he was accused by politicians of pursuing a ‘gay agenda’. He’s left the opposition Singapore Democratic Party for a life in activism.

20. You realize that a story like this needs to be shared

Because it’s the fabulous thing to do, honey.

Photo via Pinkdot.SG


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