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Activism with A-band-on
Articles - Activism
Written by Jin   
Thursday, 16 March 2006 00:00

I've been wearing a rainbow-coloured rubber wristband. You know, those wristbands that come in various colours, first it was a yellow one from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, then there was the dual black/white for anti-racism, and before long, even Giordano and McDonalds were selling them too. I'm not one for fads, so I've never owned or bought one in any of the myriad of colours they come in. Except this Rainbow one.

My gf and I bought one each, from a gay shop in Sydney. Our $10 went in support of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. We put them on as we left the shop, and to me, it was like now I was 'branded', I was wearing a visible sign that acknowledges that I am gay. My gf wondered if wearing rainbow wristbands would attract attention and maybe get us beaten up by some anti-gay hooligans.

It was a big step for me, my small triumph of activism. Declaring to the world 'Hey, I am gay, and I don't mind letting you know that either.' Ordinarily, people would not glance twice at me because my appearance fits the stereotype of 'straight', but this time, we both felt somewhat self-conscious as we walked back to the train station.

 

Then the next day drew around. This was Saturday, the day of the big parade. We trailed down to Oxford Street to watch the spectacle. And as I noticed the other glbt people around, it struck me that they were truly Out and Proud, and no, they didn't have to wear any wristbands to tell people they were gay. Maybe yes their clothing and hairstyles fit the 'lesbian' stereotype; looking at them most people would categorise them as dykes. But it didn't seem like they cared. They seemed to be saying 'Yes, I have short hair, tank top and other androgynous clothes, tattoos, so looking at me, you probably assume I am a lesbian, but so what, I am what I am, and I don't have to pretend to rebel against the way that society has stereotyped dykes, though not in so many words.

But it made me question my own dress sense. I have tried all my life to never be a slave to catwalk fashion, nor to conform to stereotypes that society has invented to keep everyone in their neat little categories. But by the very fact that I have so many 'Don'ts' in my wardrobe, I am also 'conforming' in a reverse sense of having styles that I wish not to wear. Hence I am still hedged in, because by being defined as the opposite of 'something', that definition cannot exist by itself without the original 'something'. Now I am thinking that Hell, if the way I dress enables people to stereotype me, then that is just inevitable. Because people will always try to label you. And if they want to label me LESBIAN, that is not incorrect, so why should I try to pretend otherwise?

This fashion-furore was taking place in the background of my mind while I was actually watching the Mardi Gras Parade. There were literally hundreds of people proudly getting involved, including Dykes on Bikes, PFLAG, church groups and many more. And it really made me cry to see them all, and merely thinking about the word PRIDE made me cry even more. They were all making a huge statement, taking a stand for glbtq people, displaying themselves on National tv. There was not a hint of shame, or disgrace, and that was my first close encounter with the real meaning of 'Out and Proud'. Being Proud means we do not have to hide who we are. We stand up and be counted. Every single one of the people in the procession was either gay, or pro-gay, and it was no secret, Everyone watching knew that. Now I bet none of the audience bothered noticing if the participants were wearing rainbow wristbands. Well, DUH, it would have been Understatement of the year.

Now I look back and think how at first it seemed to me that wearing a rainbow wristband was such a big activist step for me, but then in the midst of the whole Pride parade, the wristband suddenly faded into the background. These folk were miles and miles ahead of my tiny step. And I was so moved thinking 'Well, one tiny step forward is still better than no steps or backward steps. And maybe in Singapore, the steps we take are just smaller than the strides that other activists elsewhere achieve. But nonetheless we Do take our own little steps at our own pace, and Hey, you have to start Somewhere!' And I didn't dare envision the day that our steps here become strides too, and we have our own Pride parade.

And now, back in Singapore, I wear my rainbow wristband with pride when I go out, I don't have to say anything, but if people notice it and know what it means, or at least are curious to find out more, then I have accomplished what I set out to achieve. For now.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 16:00
 

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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:31
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pleinelune said,

March 16, 2006 at 3:51 pm

I’ve pride band too… and two-female-symbols necklace… just don’t dare to wear it much. :(
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# Dawn 2010-02-02 03:31
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Dawn said,

March 16, 2006 at 5:00 pm

Where can i get that rainbow band, is it even sold in SG?
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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:31
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pleinelune said,

March 16, 2006 at 6:48 pm

Far East. A shop on the fourth level, if I am not wrong.
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# lublubb 2010-02-02 03:31
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lublub said,

March 16, 2006 at 8:57 pm

actually im more interested in the female-female symbols necklace. Where u get it, pleinelune?

Nice post btw =)
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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:31
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pleinelune said,

March 17, 2006 at 9:33 am

Tampines mall. One of the jewellery shops there, D’Silvera. You can buy two of the symbols, and ask them to solder it together for you. Will cost upto $50 btw.
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# Ssky 2010-02-02 03:32
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sky said,

March 17, 2006 at 9:18 pm

if i am not wrong, you can purchase the gay pride band from e bay. my fren from austr asked if i want ;)
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:32
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headache said,

March 18, 2006 at 11:31 pm

homosexuality didn’t exist until quite recently – late 19th century only (120-180 years or so?) if i’m not wrong. funny how some people get teary-eyed over a cultural construct.
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:32
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headache said,

March 19, 2006 at 12:11 am

but i guess it gives us something to hold on to.
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# Mier 2010-02-02 03:32
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Mier said,

March 19, 2006 at 9:25 am

Do you mean the term… or do you mean the dynamics? Coz i think same-sex love has been around for really really long….
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:32
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headache said,

March 19, 2006 at 10:33 am

same-sex relationships have been around for a long time but they were relegated to pedestaric relationships. it’s only recently that gay tendencies are recognised as a separate form of “perversion” that is inborn and hard to change.

i marvel at how far this man-made construction (”homosexuality”), borne out of medical science, sexology and capitalism, has become a community of people that hold on to each other for support and friendship. wonder how far we can take it..
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# Jjustme 2010-02-02 03:33
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justme said,

March 19, 2006 at 11:03 am

I don’t think she is teary-eyed because of a ‘cultural construct’. That statement is most unfair and irrevalant. Don’t you ever wonder how this man-made construction came about? Idiots and discrimination. Plenty of it that it causes much heartaches and tears. So i hope you know what you’re talking about.
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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:33
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pleinelune said,

March 19, 2006 at 11:40 am

Let’s get this straightened out: same-sex love has been around for ages, and it is not confined to pedastry. Go and do research on it, and you’ll find that some form of it existed in every culture, and often it was ACCEPTED, as being natural. But it is only lately that the culture has been put in the limelight, because of religious homophobes trying to take away our rights.
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:33
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headache said,

March 19, 2006 at 1:35 pm

So wot’s your point, pleinelune? Same-sex love has been around for ages, sure i know that and there have been lots of documented same-sex “love” (ie. long-term couplings) i don’t doubt that. But i’m saying that homosexual (sex acts and such) as a whole, have been largely pedestaric and class-based as opposed to homosexuality as we know it today. The point of my first post was to wonder at homosexuality in the postmodern era, specifically the development of gay pride.

And speaking of research, considering that i am majoring in queer studies and have been doing so much in-depth research on homosexuality, i find whatever you said quite an insult. Not that it matters what i study or do because that is irrelevant to this discussion. What i represent here are my thoughts, just as you have done so. Perhaps you should do more “academic” research on the history of sexuality and sexology if you want to nitpick, and understand where i’m coming from before flaring up.

justme: I wasn’t referring to the author. I was referring to the GLBT community as a whole.
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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:34
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pleinelune said,

March 19, 2006 at 3:08 pm

“gay tendencies are recognised as a separate form of �perversion� that is inborn and hard to change.” Well if you are really majoring in queer studies, it doesn’t show, because your views drip of judgement, distaste and ignorance.

For me to understand where you are coming from, you have to make your point more clearly as well. I have no idea what you are trying to say. Are you trying to say that gay culture is defunct? That we are holding on to a quaint ideal?
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# headachee 2010-02-02 03:34
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headache said,

March 19, 2006 at 5:54 pm

My god, do some reading of core text in sexual history and maybe you’ll understand where i’m coming from. and damn it, now i sound like an arrogant pedant – which isn’t what i set out to be when making my statement. well, let me put it this way.. i’m talking about a point in time where medical science saw gay tendencies as a form of “perversion”, which is only quite recent (re: 120-180 years ago) and i’m using the word “perversion” as was used back then, thus the inverted commas.

Where in my sentences above did i write that gay culture is defunct? I stated specifically that gay culture is a social construct of recent development, again within the past say, 150 years as an average, because prior to that homosexual coupling was part of unrecognized sodomite subcultures and previously also on class-based pedestary. The central point i was trying to make – about how far this development has gone – was a response to the above post that i, as a spectator, got out of the article. And i am entitled to my POV just as you have. I respect your views on homosexuality and i hope you will respect mine without resorting to personal attacks.

In response to your vitriolic assessment of my views, do not condemn me because you don’t know where i come from (as i do you). Does it warrant a response? I dare say no but i will. Back home in Singapore i work in an industry where 75% of males and females are homosexual, out, loud and proud. And i am one of them. It is within this safe haven that i first came out to myself and the people around me. Were i prejudiced and ignorant, my dear, the community doesn’t see it.

If you want gay activism to work, you need a place where people can inject new ideas and suggestions, and where issues can be debated about without anyone resorting to angry protests and personal attacks. I’m certain Lesbian Anonymous, like this blog, is useful for people coming out or rediscovering their identities and i am fully in support of that, but if one cannot accept controversial or even divergent views, it’s hard to progress isn’t it. I guess you’ll say it’s what the forum’s for, so take this to the forum if need be, if you want to continue this debate.
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# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:34
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pleinelune said,

March 19, 2006 at 8:39 pm

NOW you are making a point. Earlier, you weren’t. And there is no need to get so defensive and play the victim about being challenged. If you have a right to say your opinion, then I do too.

And I don’t have to “accept” your views – I’ll listen to it gladly, but accepting it is a matter of personal choice.

I’m moving this discussion to the forum, LGBT Rights. forum.sayoni.com/viewforum.php?f=30
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:34
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headache said,

March 19, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Well, i made no sense because you’re weren’t getting the bigger picture and it seemed to me, jumped to conclusions too soon too quickly. As a forum mod/co-founder, i’d have expected you to orchestrate your responses with more thought than this.

Listen to [other voices] “gladly”, please do, or learn to do so with better words.
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# jeean 2010-02-02 03:34
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jean said,

March 19, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Er.. people. I think it was a misunderstanding… Thanks for clarifying headache. Thank you. I really appreciate it and I agree that we need other voices in the community.

I think there were harsh words from both sides irregardless of who started it, I had the same misunderstanding about your posting as well and I’ll apologize even if the main debate was not with me.

So… I hope all can be forgiven simply because we’re family in a way. And yes, join the forum if you can, we argue plenty there. The politically correct and incorrect ones.
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# jeean 2010-02-02 03:35
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jean said,

March 19, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Btw, you were talking about premodern, modern concepts of homosexuality .. so what’s your take on the possible postmodern constructs of gay pride?
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# Mier 2010-02-02 03:35
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Mier said,

March 20, 2006 at 11:40 am

This whole discussion has gotten me quite muddle-headed. I must say i still don’t understand…? The Cultural construct of homosexuality… what exactly is it? And it is tied in with medical science and “perversion”? Which means… this cultural construct is negative?
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# headache 2010-02-02 03:35
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headache said,

March 21, 2006 at 7:08 am

let’s take it to the forum and have nice rationale, unangry discussions. i apologise for my lack of tack as well. but i won’t be around until sunday. this is a hellish week. ciao.
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# snorkeem 2010-02-02 03:35
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snorkeem said,

March 21, 2006 at 11:27 am

Alright.. see ya.
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# onekell 2010-02-02 03:35
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onekell said,

March 23, 2006 at 12:17 am

This is kinda off-topic, but I’d love to read more about glbt history in asia and southeast asia in particular, since we seem to have erudite scholars in this area.
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# joseph 2010-02-02 03:37
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joseph said,

February 25, 2007 at 2:07 pm

hey whats the colour for “i want a girlfriend” band
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