To empower queer women towards greater involvement and presence in the community
Advocacy for LBTQ women's rights at CEDAW
Sayoni was at the United Nations in Geneva in October 2017 to bring Singapore LBTQ women's issues to the forefront. The CEDAW Committee heard our concerns and raised recommendations related to LBTQ women in their Concluding Observations for the Singapore government.
Sayoni is a Singapore-based feminist, volunteer-run organisation that works to uphold human rights protections for queer women, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. We organise and advocate for equality in well-being and dignity regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and sex characteristics.

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‘Look at me.’ He commanded.
‘I have not taken my eyes off your face, Pastor Matthew.’ I smiled at him and moved a step to face him squarely, less than an arm’s length away.

‘Is there some kind of a relationship going on? I understand if you have challenges.’ He continued. ‘I can show you scriptures from the bible’ Are the two of you in a relationship- something more beyond friendship?’ He pressed.
I gave him a light smile.
He raised his voice, ‘I mean are the two of you in a relationship?! Why can’t you give me an answer?!’

In response to his outburst, i asked, ‘Do i owe you an answer?’

‘Yes, because you are causing people to stumble’ If there is something going on, i have to arrest it- we can pray for you, help you’’
I raised my eyebrows again. ‘All i wanted is to listen to preaching. I don’t see how i am causing others to stumble.’
‘Don’t eat meat in front of the vegetarians.’

I mulled over the sentence. And then it dawned upon me: eating meat in front of vegetarians would distress vegetarians. So i think what he’s asking for is behavior according to heterosexual norms. Okay, i think got that bit.

‘Okay, i understand. Lots of girls lean on each other’s shoulders and hold hands. I lean on lots of people’s shoulders’ next time if people ask, why don’t you just tell them that there’s nothing going on?’
He retorted, ‘Maybe i am living in the dark ages.’
‘Probably.’ I gave him a polite smile, ‘I really need to go to the washroom. Can i go now?’


She asked me, why couldn’t i just tell them we are together.
Because the ushers and other ministers would be roped into the room immediately and this session would drag for eons. It was a battle i didn’t deem worth fighting because the fight is not public and certainly not on a level platform. So if i can help it, i rather have it truncated. I didn’t want unfruitful trouble.

She asked me if i was trying to hide my sexuality.
No, i wasn’t. Because if i had told them we are only friends and there’s nothing going on, we could skip out from that windowless tiny room in two seconds. But i didn’t want to do that because that is untrue.

Am i traumatized?
No, merely angry at the way it was carried out- Escorting us firmly into the room in an aggressive manner and then trying to intimidate in manner and speech tone. It was rude to say the least.
Do i feel rejected?
No. People don’t bother me in this aspect. Christian fundamentalists once used the bible to say that inter-racial marriages are sin. Nothing human can shake my sense of His acceptance of me.

But then i gotten really mad because i saw for myself the emotional impact of such an incident on another. And that makes me angry and indignant because it reminded me of the massive number of Christian gays who had killed or hurt themselves because of rejection from church.

What kind of a beast would put a living soul through such depths of emotional turmoil and still claim to walk in love?



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