Gays press their case with IndigNation (Today [Singapore])
29 Jul, 2005
Pride Month launched in Singapore to seek equal rights
FRIDAE.COM'S popular Nation parties may have been banned, but this hasn't deterred the gay and lesbian community in Singapore from asserting their place as citizens of the country.
They will be marking Singapore's 40th anniversary with "IndigNation" — Singapore's first gay and lesbian Pride Month, which will run until Aug 26.
"IndigNation is a gay community response to this ban, as well as to censorship of publications, such as Manazine, serving this community.
"Gays and lesbians are indignant over what these say about their rights and their place in this nation," said playwright Russell Heng.
Without defying any laws, the community will seek to make its point through the avenues available to it.
The events planned over the course of the month include Martin Loh's painting exhibition at Utterly Art gallery, called Cerita Budak-Budak (Children's Stories).
Mr Loh is an openly gay artist who is known for his male erotic and Peranakan imagery.
There will also be a talk by Dr Tan Chong Kee on same-sex love in classical Chinese literature, while Dr Heng will share his insights on the areas in Singapore frequented by the gay community two decades ago.
"Many of the events were already in the works, some were planned and then it all came together.
"We realised there's not a single force or instigator behind it, which shows that there is a desire to respond to this (the ban) in the community," said Mr Alex Au, co-founder of gay rights group People Like Us.
In recognition of Singapore's 40 years of independence, Mr Au will be heading a forum on "the national and the personal".
The forum will provide a space to talk about nationhood and issues other than those just pertaining to gay and lesbian rights.
"The issues might be completely unrelated to being gay or the community. But I have as much of a right to talk about this country's history as anyone else," added Mr Au.
People Like Us member, Mr Charles Tan, added: "This is a form of community action. It is really at the grassroots level, which is what we want to emphasise."
The Pride Month will wrap up with a party on Aug 26, hosted by Adventurers Like Us (Adlus), a Singapore Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered outdoor and sports group.
"The Adlus bash is definitely not on the scale of the Nation party and it is not a public event.
"It is for our own members, to celebrate our sixth anniversary. We're not even expecting that many people!" said Adlus member Nicholas Lum.