Queen Invites Ivan Heng To Buckingham Palace

Celebrated theatre veteran and self-professed “serial cross dresser” Ivan Heng has been invited to dine with the Queen of England herself.

The founder of Wild Rice theatre group shared on Facebook a true, blue royal invite to the State Banquet for him and his partner Tony Trickett in honour of the President of Singapore.

“My husband and I are very moved and deeply honoured to attend. We do so as proud representatives of Singapore and members of the Singapore arts community.”

The post cooked up a social media storm. Many online poured their congratulations out to the couple, rightfully so. With a Cultural Medallion under his belt—the highest national prize for culture and the arts—Ivan Heng is a crown jewel in Singapore’s arts scene.

But cheers are in the air for more than the recognition of his contribution to the local arts scene. Ivan’s invitation to the Buckingham Palace is a victory march towards another kind of battle, the LGBT freedom to love.

More Than Just An Invite, It’s A Statement

Ivan reveals that the royal invite came just days after their August wedding in England where the ban on same-sex marriage has been lifted.

While gay marriage remains illegal in Singapore, Her Royal Highness has acknowledged and invited the arts icon and his husband. And this too, will honour the relationship between the two countries.

Ivan earlier wrote about his sentimental and stigma-fuelled journey towards marriage. Outside the safe spaces of Hong Lim Park during Pink Dot, the LGBT community still face every day stigma.

From the National Library Board shelving children’s books with queer families into adult sections to the #WearWhite movement targeted at Pink Dot and state-sanctioned prejudice 377A, their struggle for equality is real.

Yet as a society we are maturing and more ready in recent years to put the conversation on the table. Perhaps this acknowledgement by the Queen herself—that a man is invited to dinner with his partner regardless of sexual orientation—will help bring more support from mere dinner conversation to real action back home.

After all it is not people with opposing views who are dangerous but those who believe in the absolute righteousness of their views.

With reference to Ivan Heng,
Images via Mandeepal N Windsor, Flickr