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Imagining Gay ParadiseBali, Bangkok, and Cyber-Singapore$
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Gary Atkins

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083237

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083237.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Problem with Home (2)

The Problem with Home (2)

Chapter:
(p.185) 15 The Problem with Home (2)
Source:
Imagining Gay Paradise
Author(s):

Gary L. Atkins

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888083237.003.0015

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

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