Every August, the nation’s LGBTIQ+ community comes together to hold IndigNation: Singapore’s Pride Season. This is a month-long festival of queer activism and culture that has run since 2005, bringing together a diverse range of artists, advocates and audience members.
Our theme for IndigNation’s 12th year is “Truth to Power”. We want to encourage people to seek out truth through shared knowledge and understanding—and we want to empower them to speak out for change. We began this movement early, at PinkDot 2016, with our Write to Your MP campaign, calling on LGBTIQ+ people and their allies to make our voices heard by our government, just like homophobes do.
Our festival will unfold over four weekends in August 2016:
First, we kick things off the IndigNation Queer Film Festival, held on Fri 5 and Sat 6 August at The Projector. This event gathers the community together in a spirit of celebration as we enjoy queer-themed movies from across Asia and beyond. We are especially proud to have brought in Strike a Pose, the widely acclaimed documentary about that traces the lives of openly gay backup dancers of Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour. This will be held as our Gala Night on Fri 5 August, 9:30pm, followed by an After Party.
The second weekend’s focus will be Natural Education, a queer-themed conference held on Sat 13 and Sun 14 August at one of Tanjong Pagar’s most iconic gay bars, DYMK. This series of afternoon talks aims to facilitate the sharing of information and perspectives between the different sectors of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Our final two weekends focus on LGBTIQ+ culture. Sat 20 marks the return of the ever-popular RIOT! drag show, starring and hosted by Becca de Bus, while Wed 24 will see a special edition of the Story Slam dedicated to queer-related real-life stories, told by ordinary people. We also invite members of the community to attend two events organised by outside organisations: The 8th Love & Pride Film Festival, held by Golden Village from 19 to 31 August, and Apa Itu Activist, a forum organised by our allies in civil society, held from the morning to the afternoon of Sat 20.
We bring our program to a close with ContraDiction on Sat 27 August. This is our annual evening of queer Singaporean literature and music, which will feature a host of young LGBTIQ+ writers and musicians performing their own work at the Arts House Chamber. To mark our 12th anniversary, we have chosen the subtitle “Dirty Dozen” for this year’s event. Writers have been asked to perform works with the themes of “dirt” and “dirtiness”, questioning the taboos that still limit our lives.
IndigNation will feature many other events other than those already listed, including a book launch by Tania de Rozario on Fri 12 August; PENGUINS PLUS!!!: A Queer Zoology Pub Quiz on Sat 13 August; TransIt: an Evening of Trans Arts and Culture on Sun 14 August; The Giving Table: A Dinner in Support of the T Project on Mon 15 August, and a workshop with poet Cat Brogan on Fri 26 August.
A full list of events is available below. We hope to see you there!
Fri 5 August- Sat 6 August, The Projector
OPENING: Indignation Queer Film Festival
Organised by Stephanie Dogfoot & Muslim Sahib Torun
Fri 7:30-8:50pm, The Projector
Papa Rainbow (IndigNation Queer Film Festival)
Fri 9:30-11pm, The Projector
Strike A Pose: Indignation Queer Film Festival Gala Night 2016
Fri 11pm-3am, District 7, 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower, #01-41, Singapore 199589
After Party: Happy Happy Disco Function
Sat 7:30-9pm, The Projector
Queer Shorts (IndigNation Queer Film Festival)
Sat 9:30pm, The Projector
Funny & Fabulous (IndigNation Queer Film Festival)
Fri 12 August, 7pm, BooksActually, 9 Yong Siak Street
Book Launch: Tania De Rozario’s “And the Walls Come Crumbling Down”
In 2003, a young woman leaves home without telling her family that she is not coming back. She spends the next six years moving from house to house and living hand-to- mouth; at first with her lover, and then alone.
And The Walls Come Crumbling Down parallels three events in the author’s life: the physical deterioration of the house in which she lives, the emotional disintegration of a couple once in love, and the unearthing of childhood ghosts that can’t seem to be cast off. Part memoir and part poetic rumination, it is an ode to love, loss and the people and places we call home.
Sat 13 and Sun 14 August, 1-7pm, DYMK & Out Bar
As LGBITQ+ people, we don’t get to learn much about our community in school. Instead, we have to head to the bars of Tanjong Pagar—and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing this weekend.
Natural Education is a queer conference that gathers a range of speakers and interest groups for dialogue, aiming to expose the community to a diverse range of perspectives and ideas. Check out the list of events below:
Work in Progress: A 21st Century Queer Activist Panel
Featuring Leow Yangfa (Oogachaga), Jean Chong (Sayoni), Eugene Tan aka Becca D’Bus (IndigNation); moderated by Raksha Mahtani
Singapore’s supposed to be an innovative, futuristic first-world nation. But while other countries are winning same-sex marriage and adoption rights, we’re still struggling with anti-gay sex laws and censorship policies that stubbornly refuse to go away.
In this panel, representatives from Singapore’s major queer activist groups describe their work and their struggles, confronting the question: how on earth can we create positive change in a place like this?
Everything You Wanted to Know About Trans People But Were Afraid to Ask
A talk by Christopher Khor, followed by a panel discussion featuring Joe Wong, Sherry Sherqueshaa and Sandhya Thomas
Let’s face it: most of you reading this know next to nothing about transgender people. Perhaps you’ve only heard insulting nicknames, and a few inspiring stories about lives being transformed through surgery and hormones. But what is like to live day to day as a trans person in Singapore? What issues are most important to the community? How can you tell if someone is transgender—or does that even matter? No more excuses for ignorance—our panel of trans activists is ready and equipped to teach you a lesson you won’t forget.
3-4:30pm, Out Bar
Communication and Consent in Poly/Kink Relationships
Facilitated by Natalie Tai
If you’re non-monogamous, kinky, both, or just curious about how to ramp up communication and consent in your sexual and/or romantic life, this workshop is for you. Talk to people who have the same weirdo problems, and share the failures and successes of your own journey in communicating needs and desires in ethical non-monogamy and/or kink. All inclinations welcome. Bring a pen, a notebook and a bit of courage.
Queer Parenting Workshop
Organised by Sayoni, facilitated by Olivia Chiong
Homophobes like to say queer people are anti-family. That’s rubbish—in fact, quite a few of us have started families of our own! We invite you to a gathering of gay, lesbian and bisexual parents, who will share the challenges and delights of raising kids in Singapore.
5-6:30pm, Out Bar
From the Basics: A Safer Sex Workshop
Organised by Action For AIDS
We’re sorry to say this, but your sex education teacher probably lied to you. Abstinence until marriage is NOT always the best solution. Sex is NOT always an act between one cisgender man and one cisgender woman. Join in this inclusive and interactive workshop where we share genuine, scientific advice about how to stay healthy as a sexually active queer person. It’s time to cut through all the silly conservative myths and get back to basics.
Same story, different spaces: WhyNot Vol 5 Dialogue Session
Organised by TrendLit (Andy Ang and Ang Jin Yong)
In collaboration with IndigNation, TrendLit is organising a dialogue session inspired by “Same story, different spaces”: the feature interview of their Chinese literary magazine. WhyNot /不为什么. This volume features interviews with different writers and artists as they share their experiences in their individual fields (short stories, movies, poetry, theatre) and how they use them to tell the same story: the ambiguous relationship between LGBTs and the country. Our editors will be talking about the inspirations and major takeaways from this interviews, and we hope to invite everyone on board this journey.
Young, Out and Proud?
Organised by the Inter-Uni LGBT Network
In the wake of the Orlando shootings and our own government’s failure to accept the UN Universal Periodic Recommendations on s377A, media censorship and other issues, “Young, Out, and Proud?” will explore questions on the future and role of LGBTQ youth activism in Singapore.
Three youth activists will be sharing their experiences, thoughts, and perspectives on LGBTQ youth activism and Singapore’s LGBTQ landscape over the next 5 to 10 years. Thereafter, participants will get the chance to air their views on these issues in facilitated small group discussions.
Magic as Protest, Reclaiming and Resistance: An Interactive workshop on Queer Magic
Facilitated by Reilly Phanes and Zarina Muhammad
In this workshop, Reilly Phanes and Zarina Muhammad will be sharing their respective interdisciplinary research and practice on the realms of the magical and mystical. They will look at the setting up of magic as a point of cultural dispute which has served to construct, circulate and perpetuate certain tiresome tropes and representations of the ‘primitive’, the ‘indigenous’, of what is perceived as backwardness, degenerate, dubious, disordered and failing to occupy positions of legitimacy. They will also address the counterpoints to these ideas and reposition magic as a tool of queer resistance and as a way of reclaiming what has been vilified and maligned.
Participants will have the opportunity to experience the fundamental techniques of magic – “the science and art of changing consciousness in conformity with the will”. Basic principles of spell-making will be shared and each person will go home with their own DIY spell bottle. There will be plenty of time for group discussion and exploration.
We ask for participants to contribute $5 for materials and to bring along a small glass jar.
(If you don’t have one lying around, you can get one from Daiso for $2)
Sat 13 August, 8pm, The Hangar, 25 Arab Street
PENGUINS PLUS!!!: A Queer Zoology Pub Quiz
Organised by Stephanie Dogfoot
So you already know about gay penguins from that dangerous children’s book. But what do you know about gay killer whales? Or the flirting habits of lesbian parrots? Have you ever wondered what bisexual koalas do when they really like each other? Find out at PENGUINS PLUS: the first ever pub quiz about queer animal sex! In conjunction Biodiversity Connections, we bring you a night of fabulous prizes and mind-blowing facts to throw at the next person who tells you that being gay isn’t ‘natural’.
Sun 14 August, 7pm, Artistry, 17 Jalan Pinang
TRANSIT: an Evening of Trans Arts
Organised by Ng Yi-Sheng and Atiq Lukman
There are plenty of lesbian, gay and bisexual artists in Singapore—but where are the T’s in the LGBT? The answer is: right here! Come for an evening of collaboratively created writing and music on all topics by a new generation of trans artists. Featured artists include Marla Bendini and Christopher Khor.
Mon 15 August, 7pm, Artistry, 17 Jalan Pinang
The Giving Table: A Dinner in Support of the T Project
Prepared with love by Rose
You may have seen 78 year old Rose in Pink Dot’s video, Our Heroes, sharing her life story as she cooked a meal in the shelter set up by June Chua, co-founder of the T Project. The shelter for homeless transgender individuals has been a crucial sanctuary to Rose and several others since 2014, until recently.
The T Project aims to sustainably run a shelter to support transgender persons who face basic survival challenges when ostracized by their families and society. What we enjoy and take for granted everyday – sharing a meal with loved ones and sleeping soundly in our own beds each night – is not a reality for many of Singapore’s transgender persons.
The Giving Table invites you to come and share a delicious buffet dinner lovingly prepared by Rose and hosted by members of the T Project. 100% of the proceeds from the dinner will go towards helping T Project continue providing care, a temporary shelter and lasting empowerment to transgender individuals. And you’ll get to meet some of these inspiring people at dinner!
The Giving Table is a community initiative dedicated to supporting needful causes through the simple act of sharing good food from the heart.
Book your dinner tickets now: http://tproject01.peatix.com
5-course Dinner Buffet – S$80 per person
Each dish is connected to a fond memory that Rose has of her family, especially her adopted daughters and late husband.
Fri 19 to Wed 31 August, various timings, GV Suntec City and GV Grand
The 8th Love & Pride Film Festival
Organised by Golden Village, curated by Singapore Film Society
Golden Village unveils the 8th Love & Pride Film Festival, opening with a screening of the documentary Oriented (UK/Israel) and a meet-and-greet session via Skype with its director, Jake Witzenfeld. The rest of the line-up includes international award winning titles : Closet Monster (Canada), From Afar (Venezuela), The Summer of Sangaile (Lithuania), Thanatos, Drunk (Taiwan), and First Girl I Loved (United States).
Sat 20 August, 9am-6pm, SMU Administration Building
Apa Itu Activist: A Forum on Civil Society Action and Advocacy
Apa Itu Activist? A Forum on Civil Society Action and Advocacy is back this August! If you’re looking to create social change in Singapore, this is your chance to equip yourself with ideas, partners and tools! Hear from exciting speakers like Arts NMP Kok Heng Leun, journalist Kirsten Han, historian Pingtjin Thum, writer and LBT rights activist Raksha Mahtani and community organiser Zubee Ali. Spend the day with your peers in civil society, exchanging ideas, pooling resources and picking up skills!
Sat 20 August, 8pm (7pm doors, dinner, happy hour), Hive by Wala Wala
There comes a time when you feel this ball of emotions deep within your gut. It grows, it expands, it threatens to multiply into a thousand little spider eggs, but somehow you hold it together just long enough to hack it up, like a hair ball, except you are not a cat, and these are feelings, not hair.
We’ve been experiencing similar sensations, except instead of emotions or hair, it has been the burning desire of our loins to tuck our wieners so tight little children could jump on our crotches and be catapulted to the heavens!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, RIOT! is BACK!!!!!
Featuring Becca D’Bus, Mona Kee Kee, Taylor Jin, DeEnormous and Ashley Fifty.
Wed 24 August, Artistry, 8pm
SINGAPORE STORY SLAM: Speaking Truth to Power
Organised by Stephanie Dogfoot and Tan Chee Seng
Come join us at Singapore’s first and longest running true-life storytelling event. For one intimate night, LGBTQ storytellers will share their experiences of speaking truth to power. Stories about what it means to stand up for yourself, your beliefs, your principles, and for others. In turns hilarious and heart wrenching, be prepared for a night you won’t forget for a long time. If you would like to tell a story (maximum 10 minutes), send a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fri 26 August, 8-10pm, 33 Kerbau Road (K1 Studio), Fee: By donation
Write Queer Write Now: Poetry Workshop w/ Cat Brogan
Organised by Stephanie Dogfoot
Cat Brogan (Northern Ireland) is a winner of the BBC Edinburgh fringe Poetry Slam whose poetry has featured on Radio 4, at Latitude Festival and Cheltenham Literary Festival. For the short span of time she’s in Singapore, she’s happy to share her craft with aspiring writers from all backgrounds. Maximum capacity: 20 participants. Please register in advance. This event is free, but donations are welcome.
Sat 27 August, 7:30pm, Arts House Chamber
ContraDiction XII: Dirty Dozen
Organised by Ng Yi-Sheng, Stephanie Dogfoot and Zarina Muhammad
Rated R18 (Homosexual Content)
IndigNation’s annual evening of queer literature and music rises from the depths—and it’s filthier than usual! This year, artists are challenging taboos by performing works inspired by the concepts of “dirt” and “dirtiness”. Featured writers include Jerrold Yam, Stephanie Dogfoot, Tania De Rozario and Marylyn Tan, along with special overseas guests Slac Cayamanda (Philippines) and Cat Brogan (Northern Ireland).