The recent repeal of Section 377A has caused mixed responses — some celebrated the news, while some others expressed disappointment over it.
Regardless, the issue has brought to light the plight of our LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and more) community, igniting more conversations on how we as a society can better provide them the rights they deserve.
Change is indeed happening, as more Singaporeans become more vocal about their support, be it through advocating on social media to raise awareness, or joining movements that empower the community.
Beyond the community individuals, there are also many businesses in Singapore that have championed LGBTQ+ inclusivity, with some even making an effort to sponsor or donate to LGBTQ+ support-related activities and organisations.
Here’s a list of 10 LGBTQ+-friendly businesses that you can show your support to:
1. Heckin’ Unicorn
Founded in 2018 by local queer Teo Yu Sheng, Heckin’ Unicorn’s products range from vibrant enamel pins to socks and backpacks that spread the message of self-acceptance and love.
Heckin’ Unicorn understands the troubles faced by some in the community, and prioritises the safety of their customers by having orders packed in discreet envelopes.
Besides creating fun and unique pieces for the LGBTQ+ community, Heckin’ Unicorn also makes an effort to donate to organisations and movements that raise awareness and create important conversations.
All profits from their first designed pin in 2019 have been donated to The T Project, a local trans shelter. Currently, Heckin’ Unicorn is donating all profits from their newly-launched earrings to them as part of a recent collaboration.
Other notable contributions include helping to raise funds last year for the TransBefrienders’ Study Support Scheme via various sales events, sponsoring Pink Dot 2021 and 2022, and donating to organisations like Action for AIDS and The Greenhouse that provide education and advocacy regarding the fight against AIDS and HIV.
In addition, they have sponsored multiple plays such as A Mirage’s “Hitting (On) Women” and Bridging The Gap’s “Cyril & Michael” that convey the journey and plight of the LGBTQ+ community.
You can also keep yourself updated and educated on queer literature and culture through their free Unicorn Library, which offers a wide collection of queer books, or check out their informative comic strips on their social media pages and blog that call out discrimination and address arguments used against LGBTQ+ folks.
Another business that champions being “proud” of coming “out” is Prout. Back when they were still schooling in their respective universities, Kyle Malinda-White, Cally Cheung and Wakka Kong decided to create a platform that could help overcome some of the underlying issues faced by the LGBTQ+.
Being part of the community themselves, they envisioned a one-stop online space to provide opportunities and a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to come together in Singapore.
On Prout, users can receive updates on news and events related to the LGBTQ+. They can also create their own events, chat with other users or find LGBTQ+ specific resources.
This came as an extension of their Telegram newsletter channel, The Qurrent, which rolls out LGBTQ+ news and events twice a week since March 2018.
Now, Prout has come up with their very own LGBTQ+ supportive merchandise, ranging from pride masks to jewellery pieces.
In addition, they have given away over S$5,000 to various organisations that provide for and support LGBTQ+ groups, migrant worker groups, groups advocating for gender equality, and even those from mutual aid lists. They have also given more than S$2,000 to TransBefrienders in 2021 as well.
As for those from the LGBTQ+ community that are sourcing for chest binders, TOMSCOUT has got your back.
Established in 2016 by a non-binary founder Nicole Goh, the brand offers high quality chest binders and masculine-designed underwear in women sizing as a way to cater to the needs of tomboy, trans man, and non-binary customers.
With a purpose of helping people fight against body dysmorphia, Nicole seeks to continue building and improving the brand for the LGBTQ+ community to trust and rely on.
Also understanding the needs of safe-binding is KosmicKult, a gender-inclusive brand that sells binders and other products like bags, tees and accessories.
They also run an Instagram page where they put up resources and other bite-sized information on the LGBTQ+ community.
To co-founder Cyann Lee who is a chest binder user, having options that expand from the typical colour palette of plain and neutral colours is important, as it allows those in the LGBTQ+ community to have equal accessibility to a wide range of body wear that is usually available for others.
For example, the traditional body wear industry provides users a myriad of options to choose from with various colours and patterns available. KosmicKult aims to bridge this gap by catering to the demand for colourful, vibrant binders that are also swim-friendly.
They are also committed to ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable efforts, and in line with this sustainability goal, their binders are made from recycled polyester and have an ultraviolet protection factor of 50.
5. PSA Skin
In Singapore, there are also proudly LGBTQ+-owned skincare brands that welcome and accept all genders.
PSA Skin, which stands for Purposeful Skincare by Allies, is one such brand. Founded by Singaporean skin expert Nicolas Travis, PSA Skin sells vegan and cruelty-free products that make use of interesting formulas and active ingredients.
Nicolas was training the Sephora sales team for the launch of his other brand, Allies of Skin, in stores when he realised that many who enjoyed using the products were unable to afford getting it again.
Believing that everyone has a right to healthy skin no matter race, gender or sexual identity, Nicolas created PSA Skin, which included more wallet-friendly products that could be flexibly incorporated into one’s skincare routine regardless of where they are at on their skincare journey.
With a vision of celebrating everyone’s unique identities, PSA Skin is definitely a place for the LGBTQ+ community to feel accepted in their own skin.
Besides LGBTQ+-owned businesses that Singaporeans can support, there are also businesses that are not afraid to show their support for the community, and that is definitely something to celebrate — with cocktails.
Established during the pandemic, GudSht literally brings the party to you through their bottled cocktails.
In 2021, they launched two new bottled cocktails to help raise awareness for transgender youths in celebration of Pride Month and Pink Dot 2021, and donated 10 per cent of the proceeds to TransBefriender.
The vodka-based cocktails — Butterfly T-fect and Queer Quencher — were inspired by themes of transformation, transcendence and identity.
7. Little Sarong
Another pandemic-born business is Little Sarong. Founded by Jeanne and Betty, the brand sells self-designed masks that are practical and breathable.
In support of Pride Month this year, Little Sarong launched two types of pink masks as part of their Freedom to Love collection, where 50 per cent of the net proceeds were donated to Pink Dot.
In fact, Little Sarong was a Blush sponsor of Pink Dot 2022 and takes a stance against LGBTQ+ discrimination in efforts to help build a fairer and more inclusive society.
By contributing and supporting Pink Dot SG, they wish to create a Singapore where those from the LGBTQ+ community are accepted and treated as equals through advocacy for change and promoting dialogue.
8. The Damn Good Shop
Selling some damn good products that have a taste of locality, LGBTQ+-friendly brand The Damn Good Shop donates to LGBTQ+ initiatives and has collaborated with Pink Dot for three years and counting.
Its products in support of the LGBTQ+ community like candles, masks, shirts and jewellery are aesthetic, cool and funky.
All proceeds from the collaborations go to the T Project, which is a social service that helps shelter those from the local transgender community.
Besides holding conversations and dialogues, one can also learn more about the LGBTQ+ community through the reading of queer literature.
BooksActually is one such space that offers this. Moreover, their assortment also includes pieces created by the local pool. One book worth checking out that is available there is EXHALE: An Anthology Of Queer Singapore Voices, which focuses on LGBTQ+ discourse and stories in Singapore.
Founded in 2005, the independent online bookstore specialises in fiction and literature, and has also organised events for Pink Fest.
Housing the largest collection of Singapore literary publications including out-of-print titles, one can also find poetry, essays, literary journals, critical works and more.
Local salad bar SMOL, is a business that walks the talk. Founder Charmaine Low is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and ensures that her business is one that welcomes and champions inclusivity.
Their outlets at Lau Pa Sat and PLQ mall display pride flags as a way to show their support to the community. Charmaine believes that it is important as a business to amplify the voices of those who aren’t heard.
Even though SMOL had a homophobic encounter at one of their outlets where a man threw their displayed pride flags at SMOL’s staff while reprimanding them for showing support, Charmaine remains firm in her decision to continue displaying the flags as a gesture of solidarity.
Upon the repeal of 377A, SMOL offered a one-day promotion where their salad bowls were sold at S$3.77.
Advocating, educating and supporting
Despite the recent buzz around the LGBTQ+ community due to the National Day Rally speech announcements made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, supporting the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t be a one-off occurrence.
Businesses need to step up their efforts to incorporate inclusivity and acceptance, while also ensuring that the needs of those from the LGBTQ+ community are equally addressed. Singaporeans can also contribute to a more inclusive society by supporting LGBTQ+-friendly businesses and organisations.
By having this support and inclusivity come innately, only then can change truly start gaining traction. Advocating, educating and supporting are necessary steps for this to occur, and Singaporeans need to start embracing this for a better future for all.
Featured Image Credit: The T Project, Heckin’ Unicorns, GudSht, Prout