Mobilizing Gay Singapore
Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State
Publication Year: 2014
For decades, Singapore's gay activists have sought equality and justice in a state where law is used to stifle basic civil and political liberties. In her groundbreaking book, Mobilizing Gay Singapore, Lynette Chua asks, what does a social movement look like in an authoritarian state? She takes an expansive view of the gay movement to examine its emergence, development, strategies, and tactics, as well as the roles of law and rights in social processes.
Chua tells this important story using in-depth interviews with gay activists, observations of the movement's activities-including "Pink Dot" events, where thousands of Singaporeans gather in annual celebrations of gay pride-movement documents, government statements, and media reports. She shows how activists deploy "pragmatic resistance" to gain visibility and support, tackle political norms that suppress dissent, and deal with police harassment, while avoiding direct confrontations with the law.
Mobilizing Gay Singapore also addresses how these brave, locally engaged citizens come out into the open as gay activists and expand and diversify their efforts in the global queer political movement.
Published by: Temple University Press
Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, In Memoriam
Preface and Acknowledgments
As this book went to press, gay activists in Singapore waited for the country’s highest court to rule on the constitutionality of Section 377A of the Penal Code, the provision that criminalizes sexual conduct between men. ...
1. Mobilizing Gay Rights under Authoritarianism
The night for Keenan and his friends started out like any other Sunday night at Rascals, when the disco attracted a regular crowd of gay men. People were dancing, drinking, and enjoying themselves. Suddenly, the music stopped and the lights went up. ...
2. Legal Restrictions, Political Norms, and Being Gay in Singapore
Singapore’s sociopolitical background brings out important elements in the social processes of pragmatic resistance. The laws, regulations, and political norms are signals that gay activists consider when mobilizing and implementing pragmatic resistance and are intricately linked to a PAP-centric historical narrative. ...
3. Timorous Beginnings
Starting with this chapter, I analyze the development of Singapore’s gay movement from its emergence in the early 1990s. I structure the analysis chronologically to show how gay activists respond to ever-shifting signals, engage in strategic adaptation of pragmatic resistance, which is the central theme of this book, ...
4. Cyber Organizing
By the late 1990s, Singapore’s gay movement shifted to the Internet as a means for organizing and for deploying pragmatic resistance. In this chapter, I examine this shift and show how the three patterns of change noted in the previous chapter evolved along with the strategic adaptation of pragmatic resistance. ...
From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, Singapore’s gay movement underwent transition. In the face of signals that were sometimes optimistic and sometimes disconcerting, they attempted to push boundaries further while toeing the line. ...
6. Coming Out
In the mid-2000s, Singapore’s gay movement entered the contemporary era, one in which the matter of survival has given way to the movement’s advancement as the primary focus of activists. Chapters 6 and 7 analyze how strategic adaptation advanced the three themes of change in this period. ...
7. Mobilizing in the Open
This chapter continues to show the ways in which the contemporary period develops along the three themes of change summarized at the opening of Chapter 6—coming out into the open, holding public events and enjoying growing support, and receiving broader recognition from the state, the media, and even a countermovement. ...
8. Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements
Throughout this book, I followed a group of activists and their movement to examine how they organized and pursued social change in Singapore, a state known to restrict civil-political liberties and collective mobilization. Whereas the strategy and tactics of Stonewall and gay liberation drew from a decade of civil rights protests, black militancy, ...
Appendix A: Research Design and Methods
Appendix B: Study Respondents: Singapore’s Gay Activists
Appendix C: Singapore’s Gay Movement Organizations and Major Events
About the Author
Lynette J. Chua is Assistant Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore.
Page Count: 228
Publication Year: 2014
OCLC Number: 877363458
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mobilizing Gay Singapore