In the midst of the ebbs and flows of love, Opera Tang, the inspiring drag queen and star of the documentary 'Baby Queen,' takes us on a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Her story is one of self-love, the embrace of one's true identity, and the unwavering support of cherished companions. Her journey as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community captures the essence of resilience, community, and the unbreakable bonds.
what does love mean to you in 2023?
O: This year, I want to be more empathetic and more patient with the ones I love—my boyfriend, my family, and my grandmother. It’s about putting myself in their shoes and cherishing the time that I have with them.
love can be expressed in various ways. how do you personally show love to your partner, family, and friends? what is your unique way of expressing love?
O: I think my love language revolves around acts of service. If you do things for me, I will love you more. I also like being cognizant of other people's love languages as well, for example, my boyfriend likes words of affirmation. I don't really do that very often – I’m very Asian, I don’t say I love you that much.
“if i do something for you, that means i love you. if i cook for you if i make a dress for you - it's not because i'm cheap, i do buy stuff for people’s birthdays and things – but if i do something for you, like tie your hair up or hold your head when you're puking, i love you."
when do you feel loved by the people around you?
O: I think with all the projects that are going on in my life, I haven't really taken the time to step back and take stock of what's around me and my very supportive boyfriend helps me by driving me everywhere. He’s not my chauffeur, but he will go out of his way to do something for me and I feel very loved by that. Which is why he’s my boyfriend. I also feel loved by the everyday kind of love – like with your parents. I have a good relationship with my parents.
our pride campaign this year revolved around the theme 'Come Together.' what does that mean to you?
O: It means taking time to appreciate those around you and not being so caught up in the everyday. It means taking time out of your day to meet the people that you love, showing them that you care. Coming together means letting the people that you love know that you're there for them physically, as well as emotionally.
"love really is a continuous thing. it ebbs and flows, it comes in waves. sometimes you feel more love than other times, but the people in your life that are constant will always be there for you, and i think that's what matters."
how has the sense of community and support played a role in helping you navigate the challenges and prejudices faced by the lgbtqia+ in singapore?
O: My chosen family came to me when I first started out in drag. Without drag, I wouldn’t have met them or been able to build a bond with them. I fall back on them, kiki with them and create art with them.
These people understand me because they have the same struggles as I do and are wise because they have overcome challenges that I may be facing at the moment.
can you share a special moment or memory that exemplifies the power of love in your life?
O: After becoming a drag queen and fully realising this side of myself, I made so much deeper connections with those within the LGBTQIA+ community than I did before. I feel loved when my sisters and friends accept me and celebrate me for who I am – and this is something that I wish for everyone.
can you share a message or advice for others in the lgbtqia+ community in singapore?
O: Keep fighting. Singapore is our home, keep fighting and never give up. Never stop loving.
could you share your journey as a member of the lgbtqia+ community in singapore?
O: As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you are inherently different and you have probably tried to conform when you're younger. But now I’ve realised the importance of living my life for me, and people love me for it.
|"i feel like even at my current stage in life - i'm in my mid-20s – i’m only just going through my queer puberty and that is to say, realising that the skin that i'm in is beautiful, that it's worthy, that i don't have to conform to societal norms to live my life or be who i am."
Our ‘Love+’ scarves are available in a spectrum of colours to symbolise love, unity, and interconnections.
All profits from the sale of the scarves go directly to The T Project, that proudly supports the transgender community in Singapore. Read more about their work here.
Photography Darren Gabriel Leow
Photography Assistant Rex Teo
Creative Direction & Styling Daryll Alexius Yeo
Featuring Opera Tang
Story Shenali Wijesinghe