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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So we had the same classes, and you being alone, placed yourself next to me. And as time took its sweet sweet toil, and eternal afternoons with you passed by. Afternoons of innocence and laughter, of deep secrets and shared pains, of private jokes and mutual teasing. The ice in my heart started to melt, and flow into waters of dread. No not again.

I’m about to fall for you.

You and your inner beauty, which shone so bright it blinded and hurt. For I knew that beauty as a friend only. And no further.

1 year later...

I had seen you around, but never really took notice of you. Then one day we met at a mutual friends’ gathering. Unlikely circumstances would dictate that somehow, I ended up seeing a lot of you. Hanging out with a bunch of friends, which then translated to hanging out one to one with you. Someone to trade stories with, someone to debate and gossip with.

Then came one cathartic afternoon, when I suddenly find myself across you from the table, laying my soul bare. And how I wished, oddly, that this conversation would never end. And that I wanted to be everywhere with you.

But you stood up, crushing a tiny hope inside of me. You stood up and left to find her. Someone else owned this heart of yours already.

And for the first time, I had to learn to tell my heart to stop. To give up before it even begin.

8 months later..

I met you. At another party. I didn’t think much of it, though some part of me stirred. Before I knew it, I was swept away on a whirlwind of dates. Roses at my workplace, roses at my window. Jaunts along the river. Dining at our favorite Japanese place. Afternoons suddenly filled with purpose and with someone special.

I thought. This is it. I’m finally beginning.

But I was a simple person, who knew not previous hurts, who only saw a happy future, who couldn’t catch the signs of decay. Before it truly started, it ended just as fast as it began.

And I awoke in cold sweat, uncertain of what just happened. This isn’t what love is meant to be. Right?

So what is love, then?

4 months later...

Life presented a golden opportunity for me. I escaped this hundrum Singapore existence and roughed it out in a country quite unknown. Twenty other university mates with me, one of them, breath-takingly beautiful. You were straight as an arrow, and all the boys were tripping all over themselves to get to you. Typical pretty girl. I was contented to look from afar, and kept my dreams in my head.

I did nothing. But sometimes I wondered, what it would be like with a girl like you.

We arrived in Singapore three weeks later. One unsuspecting night, the group of us gathered for old-times sake. I sat across you and we chatted. I thought nothing of it. Later, in the dark coziness of a club, in the thumping of music and giddy swaying of bodies, you came for a dance. And I took your cue from there.

I must be in a dream. For straight pretty girls usually do not throw themselves at you. But if I’m in a dream, it better be glorious. And as I pull you tighter, I wished in my heart for a kiss. We went elsewhere, and exchanged little secrets. And as you whispered that one secret into my ear, I got my little wish, and propositioned a kiss.

‘Seeing girls kiss is hot, but doing is better’. Do you wanna try it?

I drove home that night, half-drunk, in a daze, but my synapses were all on fire. So I got to kiss you. And not just once either. Maybe miracles and dreams come true after all. But there’s only a beginning and no happy ending. Only for a night.

I knew that. So did she.

1 month later...

Class was killing me. Pure torture really.

I didn’t know whether to rejoice that there was ‘someone to look at’ or despise this insatiable ‘need to look’.

See, there was this girl in my class. And from the first time I noticed you, when the professor called you out, there was something in the way you raised that slender hand and that tilt of your chin, that endeared you to me. The second lesson of term: there you were, hair all bun-ed up, body clothed in a trim suit. Yet there was this maturity and sexiness that just oozed out of your cool demeanour. I couldn’t help stealing glances.

Curious. With the heart gaining momentum once more, I found out that you were a senior student from the school community listings. How rare of me then, to like someone older. I was amused.

Yet, as I witnessed another beginning. I despaired and struggled. There was no ending, to these ‘beginnings’. These episodes of desire and want, that pulled and pushed me in directions. It frustrates, as I could not control them. Could not stop them. Couldn’t stop myself from ‘feeling’.

I wondered if you would mean anything at all. If you would lead to an end. If I had the guts to risk once again. But I guessed if all else fails... I could always ride this one out. Grin and bear it, torturous as it may be.

Until I feel no longer.

And start all over again. At the beginning.



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