Earlier this month, Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee made an open call for people living in Singapore to be a part of his ‘Out in Singapore‘ project, a photo project featuring portraits of LGBTQ people. He had previously done a similar project in Japan.
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The photographs are being displayed at The Projector’s Intermission Bar from now till July 29. Entry to the exhibition is free.
For some people, coming out isn’t an easy thing to do. We asked some of the participants why they chose to be photographed, and be a part of this public exhibition.
“I joined Out In Singapore because I wanted to break the stereotype of what a “typical lesbian” looks like. Feminine lesbians who wear heels and makeup do exist!
I came out to my friends at 17 and my parents at 19. ‘Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’ I’m not ashamed of who I am!”
Ching S Sia, 35 and Cally Cheung, 23
“We want to live authentically, to be honest about who we are, and be out for those who cannot be.”
Isabelle Chua, 21
“When people see me and hear me, they always remark with surprise, “You don’t look transgender.” Transgender people look, and are, just like any other person on the street.”
Yu Jing Ong, 26, and Shireen Gill, 26
“When we met, we were uncertain, but 4.5 years together proved that nothing is impossible. This project was a leap of faith.”
Magdalene Seet, 35
“I want to be open to myself and to the public. I want to be true to myself never be afraid, and do what I love. I want to be proud of who I am.”
Leroy Bakar, 46
“Self-love is not being egotistical. It’s not being oppressive. It’s not wanting to be ‘better than’ – it’s just feeling comfortable in who you are, understanding who you are and letting it flow. Letting people into who you are. I keep reaffirming to myself: I am loved, I am worthy. Tell yourself that and believe it.”
Johan Salle/Opal Elyx, 31
“[I want] to represent the diversity in the LGBTQA community. And to show that a drag queen is not a person who wants to transition, but it’s a form of art performance that also empowers women everywhere to be the best that they can be. I want to break free from our own cultural stereotypes and our own bondage of not loving ones’ true self.”
Zee Tan, 22
“I want the world know there is always plenty of opportunity to showcase who they truly are, regardless of background. Our past doesn’t define us, and we get to determine our future, SO BE BRAVE.”
Jooyeon Lim, 26
“I joined the project to continue participating in queer activities. Seoul also has a long way to go in terms of queer visibility. It was important for myself to be out, so I’m planning to continue that in Singapore.”
May Tan, 40, and Afe Chua, 38
“We are two very gorgeous individuals, it would be such a waste if we don’t join the project!
We need people around us to support individuality and not judge us for who we are. Support us and let us decide what/who is best for us. Love is love.”
Ethan Koh, 25, and PY Chow, 26
“Because this is our home. [We want to be] represented, seen, and heard.”
Photos: Out In Singapore
Photography: Leslie Kee
Main sponsor: Za Cosmetics
Organiser: Etcetera Etecetera and Be Inclusive
Hair and makeup: Shiseido Cosmetics & PaletteInc
Print partner: Print Lab
Tea sponsor: Ette Tea Company
Wine sponsor: Angra
Shoot venue sponsor: Cargo 39
Exhibition venue sponsor: Intermission @ The Projector