Junior Scholar Seminar: 30 April 2021

Chasing Utopias: Chemsex as Liberation in Gay Singapore

Rayner Kay Jin Tan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Friday, 30 April 2021, 5–6pm Singapore time (GMT +8), via Zoom

Sexualized substance use, or ‘chemsex’, in the gay male community has been raised as an issue of concern by the media in Singapore as well as among international public health practitioners. How do we interpret this phenomenon in light of a socio-political backdrop where the criminalization of sex between men, homophobia, and strict drug laws prevail? While one may attribute such deviance solely to individual responsibility and agency, structural elements play an instrumental role in developing preconditions for, and reproducing trauma and neglect that underpin chemsex, as well as privilege it as a form of coping.

Rayner Tan is a postdoctoral fellow at Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. He is completing his PhD at the same school, and was previously trained in sociology at Singapore Management University. His research revolves around topics at the intersection of health, gender and deviance.

Tan’s seminar is organised in collaboration with the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.


Travis Kong is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. His action-oriented and interdisciplinary research specializes in Chinese homosexuality and masculinity, commercial sex in Hong Kong and China, social impacts of HIV/AIDS, and transnational Chinese sexuality. He mainly teaches gender and sexuality studies, as well as media and cultural studies. More

Clicking the “Register” button below will take you to a Zoom registration form. After you submit the form, you will be shown a page with the link to click before the webinar starts. Copy this link and keep it for the event. Zoom will also email you these details immediately. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in your inbox. Do save the email. If you cannot find it when you need it, search your inbox for email from “AcademiaSG” or from “acadsingapore@gmail.com”. If you still cannot find it, email us.


The Singapore Studies Junior Scholar Seminars are organised by AcademiaSG, an international collective of Singaporean scholars, as part of our mission to promote research on Singapore. If you are a PhD student or post-doctoral scholar with research to share, read our Call for Proposals. We also welcome essays and commentaries for our Academic Views section. Write to our editors through our contact form to pitch an idea.