Is Singapore LGBTQIA+ friendly?
While Singapore may not be as opposed to those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community as they once were, progress to wholeheartedly embrace and to further provide inclusions for the community has stalled in recent years. On a government level, discrimination is still quietly tolerated with little to no policies and laws in place to legally protect the community. For this reason, travellers are advised to proceed with caution when visiting Singapore.
Singapore's government is still extremely conservative and this can be seen by the refusal of political leaders to abolish Section 377A of the Penal Code (the section of the law that allows a sexual relationship between adult males to be classified as illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison). This law has been challenged over the years with the latest challenge happening in 2021, however, in all three trials to date, the appeal to remove the law has been dismissed. While this law may no longer be heavily enforced - offering a slight reprieve to members of the LGBTQIA+ community - it still represents the country's sometimes passive-aggressive stance towards the community and fellow international travellers.
However, on a social level, the LGBTQIA+ community is widely accepted in most regions throughout Singapore (especially among the younger generations) and travellers are typically exempt from experiencing any kind of stigma. While discretion is recommended when showing public displays of affection, for the most part, LGBTQIA+ travellers to Singapore are welcomed and supported.
Queer culture in Singapore
It's not all doom and gloom for the community though with the Pink Dot rally event launched in 2009 as a way to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community through inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom to love. Occurring annually during global Pride month, this event features sponsors by local businesses (after the government brought in rules to prevent international companies such as Google and Facebook from sponsoring in 2016) and aims to bring LGBTQIA+ people closer to their family and friends, standing for an open society where sexual orientation represents a feature and not a barrier.
There are also several gay and LGBTQIA+ friendly bars across Singapore, as well as a healthy amount of pop up events and art exhibitions geared towards the homosexual community. Some might say the LGBTQIA+ social scene is thriving in Singapore and you only need to head to Backstage Bar (located in Chinatown) with its rainbow flag hanging proudly above the entrance and interior full of kitsch paraphernalia to see it in action. Other notable gay-friendly bars to hit up for a night out on the town include Tantric Bar, May Wong's Cafe, Taboo Club, Dorothy's Bar, Out Bar, and Lluvia.
Solo travel and room sharing
At Intrepid, we pride ourselves on ensuring everyone who books a trip to Singapore with us is comfortable and feels welcomed. If you're travelling by yourself, you'll automatically share accommodation with a fellow traveller who's of the same gender according to your passport information. If you'd prefer a different rooming arrangement, please let us know at the beginning of the booking process. If you don't wish to share a room, individual rooms may be available on some tours.