Bans, censors, jail: perfect storm for gay arts in Singapore?

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10/16/2019

Homosexuality is banned in Singapore and arts are strictly censored – yet performers say the tough line helps foment a thriving, LGBT+ cultural scene in this conservative city state. Drag artists stage sellout shows at upmarket bars, gay performance poets are in demand and singers use rap to come out. Gay sex remains illegal – even in private – but LGBT+ artists feel they now have a firm foothold in popular culture. The tiny island plays host to three LGBT+ arts festivals a year and performers say their work stands in resistance to the government as they weave past censors to reach a wider audience. “It is our way of pointing at the world we live in and saying it’s ridiculous and wrong,” said drag queen Becca D’Bus, whose shows attract a young, prosperous and professional crowd in some of the city’s busiest downtown bars.

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