To empower queer women towards greater involvement and presence in the community
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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.
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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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My basic understanding of parties and social gatherings is that it is an opportunity to get to know other people. You already know your partner well. So, I would like someone to enlighten me: why in the world do couples always sit next to each other, doing as much PDA as possible? Is that not an activity reserved for when you are alone? Perhaps it is a remnant-instinct from the time when you had to bare your teeth at potential competitors for your mate, mark her yours with bite marks, and urinate around the nest to guard her from other alphas.

Exhibit B: The Crashers. You invite your friend/colleague for coffee/meeting/chill-out, and she arrives with her partner, who was entirely uninvited. Besides creating potentially socially awkward scenes, it also begs the question of why she cannot leave her partner at home. It is not that difficult to arrange it such that they meet after the said appointment is over; instead, the said partner either has to be invited into the session, or has to go off somewhere [or be told to do so] creating even more awkward situations. This can happen especially when you were looking forward to discussing personal/confidential things with your friend, but cannot do so with the deadweight of her partner, whom you hardly know.

Exhibit C: The Magicians. I cannot speak for gay men, but lesbians are amazing magicians. They vanish at will from the lesbian scene with a partner, leaving all their friends to wonder where she has gone. They reappear a few months alone, having successfully vanished their partners for good, looking for the next 'beautiful assistant', with whom they repeat the vanishing act. In this time they are attached, they suddenly become unavailable to all their friends, spending all the time with their partner.

'Hey, girl, wanna have coffee?'
'Nah, me and [insert name] are going to Sentosa'

'Hey girl, wanna crash Thumper tomorrow?'
'Nah, [insert name] and I are going to spend the night at her house. And the next. And the night after that.'

There are so many other exhibits, such as The Serial Monogamists and The U-haulers; but I trust you get the point. Though I enjoy the tune, I've never liked the lyrics of 'Whole Again' by Atomic Kitten. Why? Because one cannot be a whole person if one has to rely on their partner to be whole. One is not someone's half, to be joined like a human-size jigsaw puzzle with another half who has complementing edges. We are all whole people, with our distinct personalities and souls. The behaviour exhibited by a lot of queer couples, however, is a little dysfunctional, as they base their lives around the person they are dating. [I cannot speak for whether the straight couples act this way, as most of the ones I know are married with kids, and those have entirely different dynamics and context]

So why am I risking the wrath of all the attached people I know, by writing this article, and taking you through exhibit by exhibit? Because there are a few consequences to the way they act, in long-term:

1. It alienates their existing friends. How many times can they snub them, before the friends start rolling their eyes and stop calling them entirely?

2. It prevents them from developing good friendships with others, as they do not have enough time for them. A support network is essential, especially if they are queer.

3. It affects their personality and identity. For example, it can get to a point where their self-worth is always based on whether they are attached. And it can put a stop to personal development and reflection, away from the consideration of a partner. It can also lead to people stopping to consider them as a person, but always as half of a couple.

In a nutshell: girls [and boys], by all means, get attached, but please do not get shadows. Be happy, but do not base your happiness on your relationship alone. Spend all the time you want with your partner, but do not ignore your friends.

What is that? No grapes for me, thank you for asking. Maybe after I am done with the apples.

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Footnotes:

1. None of the scenarios described are aimed at, or taken from specific people. All my descriptions are an amalgation of different people and situations I’ve known and experienced.

2. Obviously this article is not aimed at ALL the couples, but those who insist on behaving like Siamese Twins.

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