Living in Singapore, where media content is tightly regulated, it comes as no surprise that queer folks here end up feeling invisible and marginalised. For many, local Mandarin-platform Channel 8’s offensive portrayal involving a gay STD-spreading paedophile is still fresh in our minds from just last year, only going to show how little progress has been made.
As Pride Month draws to a close, we’d like to elevate and celebrate positive Singapore LGBTQ+ content that’s paving the way to a more inclusive and authentic media climate in Singapore beyond June.
Advert: NTUC Income
In April this year, NTUC Income posted an ad on their Facebook page which featured an amazing drone one-shot take and a diverse cast. Not only did the fluffy, heartwarming story capture the hearts of viewers, many were also pleasantly surprised by the subtle appearance of an interracial lesbian couple.
The scene showed the happy couple rolling an inflatable pineapple into their new Pandan Valley apartment, as they animatedly discussed future decor plans.
It was over in 10 seconds and yet it was enough to feel like a genuine accomplishment. Though a brief view of a queer relationship, it didn’t resort to any archaic stereotypes. We definitely need more of such positive LGBTQ+ representation that normalises rather than stigmatises!
Podcast: The SG Boys
Aiming to be a safe, inclusive space without external pressures of censorship, the podcast is a platform for the three to share their personal struggles as well as address negative or inaccurate portrayals of LGBTQ+ people in in TV, pop culture and everyday conversations.
Due to our current Heightened Alert phase, The SG Boys are taking a break from their weekly podcast, but in the mean time, you can check out their past recordings on Spotify.
Movie: Aqua Man
Forget Jason Momoa or an ocean of action, Aqua Man instead is a deeper dive into the traumatic experience that is conversion “therapy.” Conceptualised, written, and filmed by Jet Ho all within a space of a month, Aqua Man is both unapologetic and painfully sincere in the depiction of a victim of this process.
Despite Aqua Man’s deft production and professional-grade quality, it still saw trouble in gaining the traction it so deserved. Rejected at least 15 times by streaming platforms and film festivals, the film has gained a cult following on YouTube and has resonated with many.
As Aqua Man continues to make its circulation on social media, we’re eager to see more of Jet Ho’s future works.
Wils, once a rising Singaporean pop star, was dropped by his label when he told them that he wanted to come out publicly in 2019. Before he could do so, he lost his 400,000 online following when the label promptly closed all of his social media accounts and warned that his music career was over.
A year later, Wils made the ultimate come back when he released a brand new album, Don’t Leave Too Soon, which explored the ups and downs of love as a gay man. Now based in Los Angeles, Wils even preceded the album with a coming-out single and music video that featured his boyfriend.
The fans that have reached out in solidarity to share their stories and struggles have further encouraged Wils to be open about his sexuality, knowing that he can make a difference for others who feel alone and underrepresented.
Comic Book: Scalemail & Ixora the Flower Knight
Scalemail & Ixora the Flower Knight is a superhero buddy cop story that puts LGBTQ+ minority characters at a forefront. With art by Samara Gan, this comic explores two kick ass individuals’ struggles with social life, education, and superheroism.
Empowered by a mystical being, Eric and Hallie transform into the super-powered Scalemail & Ixora, using their abilities to battle bullies and bigotry and protect the oppressed! The dynamite duo debut in this short comic book story from the pages of the successfully crowdfunded campaign, SingaHeroes.