Singapore gay travel

Singapore’s Gay Status Quo

Since Singapore is the only developed country in Southeast Asia, it is tempting to assume that all the country’s values and institutions are likewise modernized when compared to surrounding nations.

Unfortunately, Singapore lags behind even countries like Thailand in terms of social attitudes toward homosexuality. As a gay traveler in Singapore, you should be mindful of these laws when visiting gay establishments and engaging in homosexual activity.

Need help planning your trip to Singapore? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

History of Gay Rights in Singapore

Singapore has only been independent since 1959. Prior to this, it was part of Malaysia (from 1946, when Malaysia gained independence from the British Empire) and prior to that, a British colony. Singapore was under control of the Japanese during World War II.

During the British colonial period, British laws on homosexuality were applied in Singapore, which prohibited male-male sexual relations. Strangely, female-female sexual relations were legal under British law.

Homosexuality was legal when the Japanese ruled over Singapore, since male-male sexual relations have never been illegal in Japan.

Once Singapore became independent, it drafted its own laws regarding homosexuality. Most notably Section 377A of the Penal Code, which deemed sexual relationships between two consenting, adult men illegal.

Current Singapore Laws Regarding Homosexuality

Section 377A of Singapore’s penal code is alive and well today: It is still technically illegal to perform male-male sex acts in Singapore, although the laws are only rarely enforced.

Also illegal are “outrage of modesty” (Section 354), obscene signals (Section 294a) and prostitution and solicitation under the “Miscellaneous Offences Act.”

Only since 2007 have oral and anal sex been legal among consenting heterosexual and lesbian couples in Singapore. Prior to that, only heterosexual intercourse was technical legal and although female homosexuality was also legal, it is unclear which types of lesbian sex acts were legal and illegal in Singapore.

Singapore Gay Clubs and Saunas

When I arrived in Singapore in September 2010, my former roommate Kenneth and I almost immediately departed the room his mother had won for us at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel in search of Singapore’s gay nightlife.

The majority of Singapore’s gay nightlife is concentrated in the  Tanjong Pagar neighborhood of central Singapore, located very near the city’s Central Business District. Here, you’ll find bars and discos like Superstar, lockerroom and Tantric.

Tanjong Pagar is also home sleazy saunas like Cruise Club, where it isn’t at all uncommon to see full-on sex occurring. You’d never know that homosexuality was technically illegal in Singapore by visiting any of Singapore’s gay bars or gay clubs.

Other Gay Meeting Places in Singapore

During Singapore’s post-war, post-independence period, it became common for foreigners and local men alike to cruise for sex at shopping centers, public toilets and even on the street, even though Singapore isn’t a sex tourism hub like Thailand.

While that sort of behavior no doubt continues to the present day, other means of meeting men in Singapore exist. Specifically Grindr, a gay sex app I wrote about in detail in a recent article.

No matter how you choose to meet men in Singapore, do be cautious whenever you go about your business — being gay is, after all, still technically illegal in Singapore.

Liked this article about Singapore’s Gay Scene? Consider reading my Singapore Travel Guide.

About The Author

is the author of 731 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

 

informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!

 
 
 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Harvinaa May 9, 2012 at 2:35 am

Thanks for sharing this information. It will helps tourist to choose their vacations. well written post. People shy to share what you are in public but Singapore based gay tour will attract gay people from world wide. This initiative will help other countries to make tourism friendly for everybody.

Waegook Tom May 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

Useful information as always Rob. I visited neighbouring Kuala Lumpur last September. I always find it strange how homosexuality is illegal when it’s clearly a gay hotspot with a huge amount of at least (very attractive) semi-open gay men. If I were single when I was there, I’d have had no shortage of options both in terms of places to hang out, meet guys, or indeed men to hook up with.

BTW kudos on the Marina Bay Sands – I want to stay there when I eventually make it to Singapore, if only to use that dreamy-looking rooftop pool.

Alex June 15, 2012 at 2:10 am

Great information for Gay people. Gay tourism increase more and more all over the world. Now Thailand and Singapore in the same race. Even in India, many activist start Tourism for Gay couple. This is good news for them & by the way it is a good post.

Jill February 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Hi Robert,
I will be traveling to Singapore with my girlfriend next month – are there any lesbian/womens bars in the Tanjong Pagar district? Information about the Singapore LGBT community is thin on the ground, but everywhere I go, the “gay travel” info is more for gay men and leaves lesbians out of the picture, or includes a few poultry sentences. Frustrating!

chanato May 7, 2014 at 4:46 am

Hi Robert. Great to read your blog. I will be in Singapore next Monday night. Is there a gay sauna open late at night?

chanato May 7, 2014 at 4:47 am

sorry, Monday 15/05/2014

Ogre Magi August 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

WTF??? You are encouraging Western Gays to visit a repressive uptight homophobic country that has torture as a major part of it’s judicial system!That is a very irresponsible thing to do. This place deserves our scorn, not our tourist money

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