The podcast celebrating Singapore’s ‘hidden’ gay community

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7/9/21

Through stories of personal experiences and interviews with guests, a groundbreaking podcast is trying to “celebrate and stop hiding” the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, where sex between consenting male adults is still a crime. With a direct and engaging style, the three hosts of “The SG Boys” discuss everyday issues and bigger global problems while also sharing their own experiences in a country that denies part of its population the “rights and the freedom to love freely.” “For me, as long as we can help just one person with every episode that we do, then I’m happy. That’s my goal,” Sam Jo, one of the hosts along with Joshua Simon and Kennede Sng, who started the podcast in November last year. “It really means a lot to us. As gays in Singapore, we didn’t have it the easiest. We know how much of a struggle it can be.” Often heralded as “the city of the future,” this tiny, prosperous and technologically advanced Southeast Asian nation still has a number of antiquated colonial-era laws, more than 50 years since it became independent of the British empire. Among the outdated legislation is section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sexual or “indecent” acts between men, whether in public or private, punishable by a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The Singaporean government has insisted that it sees no need to abolish or amend the law, while also pledging not to enforce it. Nevertheless, the legislation still casts a shadow over the lives of gay men in Singapore, which in 2007 lifted penalties against “unnatural sex,” which referred to that between women and non-vaginal sex acts among heterosexual couples. Simon, who was the main proponent behind creating the podcast, tells Efe that the project has had a freeing, cathartic effect, allowing him not only to admit that he is gay, but that is he proud of it.

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