It’s Charmaine, Jom’s co-founder and head of visual culture and media, writing this week and here to welcome you to Pride Month. For increasingly many around the world, June is when rainbow flags are flown slightly higher, when the media highlights queer stories (“The Ultimatum: Queer Love”, anyone?…No?) and queer individuals are celebrated. Translated to a Singapore context, it’s when Pink Dot usually occurs. What better time to publish an essay on the current state of queer politics in a post-repeal Singapore?
In “Queer politics in post-repeal Singapore”, lawyer Daryl Yang and graduate student Joel Yew take us through the implications of Article 156 (which forestalls the route to marriage equality), the PAP’s political power play, and the lay of the land for the future of the queer movement. It is a sobering read, with the numerous challenges that await clearly listed. Yet as with any long journey towards human rights, it is not without hope.
Take the header image, a still from this year’s Pink Dot campaign video, titled “A Singapore for All Families”. As referenced in Joel and Daryl’s essay, “Pink Dot has taken to confronting the heterosexist ideology underpinning Article 156 by calling attention to the fact that queer people have families too. In expanding our definition of “family”, the queer movement is also challenging the state’s—and conservatives’ —narrow understanding of the queer agenda as a march towards marriage equality.”
The beautiful thing about queerness is that it is ultimately impossible to contain.
One of my favourite quotes on the topic is from José Esteban Muñoz in Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. “Queerness is not yet here,” he wrote. “Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality.”
In the years ahead, may we continue to feel this warmth, if not for ourselves, then for one another.
Head of visual culture and media, Jom
p.s. Note it down on your calendars: Pink Dot is on June 24th this year!
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