The Problem with Home (2)

Gary L. Atkins

in Imagining Gay Paradise

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083237
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209305 | DOI:
The Problem with Home (2)

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If international gay travel guides had proclaimed Bangkok a mecca for marginalized gay men by the end of the 1970s, the guides had a reverse opinion of Singapore. This chapter explores Singapore's colonial inheritance of laws that banned sodomy and male “gross indecency”—an attempt to spread Victorian ideals of male behavior. A subaltern sexual expression developed astride the city's famed Bugis Street, itself named after a Sulawesian group that reflected the region's pre-colonial understandings of gender and sexual expression. Bugis Street's legacy eventually impacted Singapore's development of sexual reassignment surgery, its language naming prostitutes and gay men, and what became a technique for opening small public spaces on the island for dances that subverted gender and sexual expectations of manhood. Within this national context of Victorian colonial values versus subversive gender and sexual expressions, the author here moves toward his own gender and sexual understanding in high school in the 1980s.

Keywords: Stuart Koe; Singapore; Raffles School; Bangkok; Bugis Street

Chapter.  6861 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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