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Although homosexual acts between men remain technically illegal in Singapore (accurate figures on the number of prosecutions are hard to verify, although the last was thought to be in 2006), recent years have seen significant, albeit slow, change in both official and societal attitudes. The current view of the authorities is that wider Singaporean society is not yet ready for open acceptance of homosexuality due to the conservative views of some religious and ethnic groups. It is also the case that the concept of Singaporean nationhood is constructed very much around the traditional nuclear family, and so there is likely to be no further change in the laws in the immediate future.

There is undoubtedly discrimination against LGBT persons in Singapore, and sexual activity between men can (technically, at least) result in a prison term of up to two years, although the same does not apply to sex between women. There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples, there are no anti-discrimination employment laws, and there is no provision for the adoption of children by same-sex couples. Nevertheless, there are changes in the public mood which may in time presage complete reform of Singapore’s anti-gay laws. Indeed, Singapore now has its first openly gay politician, treasurer of the Singapore Democratic Party Vincent Wijeysingha, while Pink Dot Sg, a parade in support of gay rights in Singapore, attract crowds of over 20,000 people.

However, gay men and lesbians in Singapore do not need to live in the isolation and fear that they once did. There is indeed a thriving gay scene mostly centred around Tanjong Pagar, while a visit to one of Singapore’s gay clubs or bars would not lead to the conclusion that male homosexuality was illegal. The gay scene in Singapore does remain underground but not the extent that it is either totally out of sight or indeed hard to find. There are also websites that supply advice, support and counseling for gay Singaporeans, such as www.oogachaga.com and safesingapore.blogspot.com.au, while Asia’s first gay lifestyle online magazine— www.elementmag.asia—was launched in Singapore.

Tantric Bar

Mon-Fri 8pm-3am, Sat 8pm-4am, Sun 8pm-3am
78 Neil Road
6423 9232

May Wong’s Café

Mon-Fri 8pm-3am, Sat 8pm-4am, Sun 8pm-3am
78 Neil Road

Taboo

Wed-Thu 8pm-2am, Fri 10pm-3am, Sat 10pm-4am
65-67 Neil Road
6225 6256

OUT Bar

Mon-Fri 5pm-12 midnight,  Sat 7pm-2am
43 Neil Road
6224 2865

DYMK

Sun-Thu 8pm-12 midnight, Fri 7pm-1am, Sat 8pm-2am
41 Neil Road
6224 3965

ebar

Mon-Sat 8pm-3am
57 Neil Road
6324 2802

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