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A Whole New World (Part 2)
Articles - Relationships
Written by lublub   
Saturday, 21 October 2006 00:00

The GLBT community in Singapore is not exactly the most conducive environment for a questioning teen. Heck, it wasn’t a conducive environment either for the teen who is already out and proud. When I first discovered PPC, I imagined it to be like a community centre, complete with basketball court and GLBT teens just chilling about. No kidding. I thought I could even find a proper youth group there to mingle with and have fellowship. Imagine my shock when I finally saw the real thing.

Going to the PPC at its old location was a nightmare. I have never felt so scared walking around in Singapore before. Tucked away in a maze of shophouses, you had to navigate in between confusing roads and rows of shophouses. Pass by many prostitutes and goodness knows who else, as you attempt to make your way to the place. I’ve been to PPC more than 6 times. And each time I go there, I walk by a different way because I keep forgetting how to navigate to the right spot. 6 times of trial and error. Going home after Women’s Nite is an even bigger nightmare. It becomes all dark and scary outside. But of course, this was the best place that the management could find, and for the fact that it(PPC) existed, I was more than grateful already. Besides, I learned to have more guts and courage just by going there.

Furthermore, if you exclude the gay-affirming religious organisations, sports and charity organisations, gay culture in Singapore seems mostly comprised of clubbing, clubbing and more clubbing. And what’s worse is that you rarely meet youths like yourself in the non-clubbing aspects of gay culture. It is mostly adults. For youths who are just timidly aware and recognising their own sexuality, without any gay friends their age, that can be a very demoralising fact to digest. You will be left wondering, where are all the teens who are like me? Having said that, there are no proper avenues for a gay youth to find peer support. By peer support, I mean someone your age and generation, whom you can talk to.

Also, some youths might be intimidated by adults, because they are older and older strangers have a greater capacity to do bad things to you, as compared to an unknown youth your age. And for many youths, the only adults that they know are teachers, relatives, their parents and their parent’s friends. Not many of us have that opportunity to know another adult as a friend. This is because the working world and the schooling world rarely collide, if at all. (In fact, some of my friends are mildly surprised that I have 30 to 40 year old friends whom I’ve met on my own and not through parents etc.) Thus, the fact that the gay community ’seems’ comprised of alot of older people, might scare off other youths who just want to meet others like themselves – young and gay. After all, who better to relate to the feelings of a youth than another youth? We all seek people whom we can identify with after all. It’s human nature.

Besides PPC and the GLBT library, there were very few avenues and resources from which a GLBT youth could seek affirmation from besides the impersonal Internet. As a queer youth, I wanted so much to bond with others like me (in real life not virtual reality). To share my life and hear the stories of other teens. To finally find friends who really, really understood what it’s like to be me. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I desperately needed to seek out other GLBT youths when I discovered that I was one too. And I was so disheartened to find that it was exceedingly difficult to meet other youths in person, especially so if you aren’t really that Internet-savvy and want something more than online friendships and forums.

I yearned for what I read about on the Internet. Gay-straight alliances, GLBT groups on university campuses. I wanted something alive and real. An actual, physical place which I could go to and have friends who are queer like me. Maybe something just like school you know?

Acknowledging my sexuality and going to PPC to meet other GLBT taught me one important life lesson. And that is: If you want something, don’t wait for it to fall down from the sky onto your lap. Do something about it, because your life and what you make of it is all in your hands. I can’t hang around and wait patiently, hoping that some kind soul would someday set up a place for GLBT youths to come together. By the time that happens, I’ll probably be too old to be considered ‘youth’. For all you know, it might not even happen…

Then one fine day, I realised that another gay friend of mine wanted something similar too. And then it dawned upon us that if the two of us want it, maybe there are others out there like us too. Other GLBT youths who wanted a space for themselves. A place where they can put into words, feelings that are deemed immoral and wrong in society. A place where they can speak without fear of being judged, condemned or harrased. A place to be themselves.

And so we decided to create such a place. Without experience or relevant skills. Just lots and lots of passion and ideas. It’s probably the biggest project of my life thus far, and nothing like what they make us do in school. If it works, it’ll be a dream come true for us. But for now, it’s a serious work in progress… and when the time comes, I shall share more about it.

But for now, watch this space.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:17
 

COMMENTS_LIST_HEADER   

 
# humphh 2010-02-02 21:15
humph said,

October 22, 2006 at 4:06 am

inspirational. best of luck.
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# Tj 2010-02-02 21:15
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Tj said,

October 22, 2006 at 1:03 pm

the clubbing culture is kinda disconcerting
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# ccam_obs 2010-02-02 21:15
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cam_obs said,

October 22, 2006 at 3:26 pm

How I wish someone thought of this when I was in my teens. There’s just nowhere else to go meet queer girls if you’re not a drinker or worse, you don’t really see yourself in any of the cliques they form at these clubs. Often if you don’t belong to any clique, the stares will make you will feel like an outsider, no different from being a queer amongst a mostly straight crowd.

Good luck lublub, I hope that through your intitatives, more teens come out and interact with each other like normal human beings minus the starring in clubs.
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# ZZee 2010-02-02 21:16
Zee said,

October 22, 2006 at 5:45 pm

I agree with you on so many levels and points. Let’s make it good, yeah? :)
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# Zuan 2010-02-02 21:16
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Zuan said,

October 24, 2006 at 3:14 pm

Best of luck lublub, that’s something I wish I’d had when I was in my teens too. So inspiring and encouraging :)
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# mmumsy 2010-02-02 21:16
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mumsy said,

November 2, 2006 at 1:40 am

What a great article! It really made me realise how hard it might be for younger women to go to women’s Nites! But of course, those of us on the other end of the age scale sometimes have similar fears about being too old!
Three cheers for you for your courage and for your ACTION!
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