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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I cannot speak for gay men, but lesbians do not like bisexuals. That is very much clear, from the general attitude. They are perpetually afraid of their partners leaving them for The Man, ‘the enemy’.

This author finds that a really sad situation, because, as she has elucidated before, Men are not the enemy. It is our own attitudes, our insecurities, which are the problem. If your partner leaves you for a man, how different is it from her leaving you for another woman?

The lesbian community is selfish: once a woman says she likes women a bit more than men, she is automatically branded as lesbian and claimed triumphantly, a tiny victory over the other side. And the unforunate girls who are on the other side of 3 are called fly-by straight girls. Are there only two (or three) categories for a person to ascribe to?

Here, Pleinelune would like to introduce two new terms of her own invention: “true-type” bisexuals, and “generic bisexual”. The true-type bisexual is someone who is between a 2.5-3.5 on the Kinsey scale [rated from 0 to 6]. The generic bisexual is someone who falls outside this range, but not 0 or a 6 – this is the average person on the street. Keeping this classification in mind will help us clarify many issues surrounding bisexuality, a much misused and misunderstood term.

Pleinelune is a true-type bisexual, and would like to clarify that she has never found it necessary to ‘make up her mind’ between men and women ‘ she takes whoever who comes along who fits her profile, guy or girl. The same, I believe, would hold true for many true-type bisexuals, who truly prefer boys and girls to more or less to the same extent, give or take a few percentage points. To this day, she has refused to answer the age-old question every lesbian seems to ask her: do you like men or women more? To her, this question is irrelevant, because, as mentioned before, she takes whoever who comes along, regardless of gender.

Then there is misconception that many people call themselves bisexual in their coming out phase, only to transition into being completely gay. While this phenomenon does happen and is completely understandable – true-type bisexuals are often accused of this, though the real “culprits” are generic bisexuals. And there are the those who have adviced Pleinelune that she will eventually turn gay or straight – these people she ignores, for they are still stuck in a binary system. It is already clear sexuality is not a discrete variable, but a continuous one.

To most gay people, the prospect that someone can be swinging in between two worlds is scary, because, they are afraid that the world they’ve built for themselves, the identity they ascribe to themselves, the way they assert how the opposite sex does not turn them on, will come crashing down when someone points to bisexuals. After all, the acceptance of the gay community hinges on the fact that ‘they are born that way’, and that they ‘cannot change’. Bisexuals, it seems, form the chink in the armour of their defence mechanism, with their ability to move in between worlds.

Pleinelune’s rebuttal is, bisexuals are ‘born that way’ too. So if you are to lambast the bisexual identity, then you are chopping away at the roots of your own identity.

Being in the no-man’s land between gay and straight is hard – we not only get discriminated by straight people with the same bigoted attitude, but also gay people. There is adequate discrimination against us as a gay community – is there any use dividing up our tiny community further with labels, stereotypes and sheer idiocy [such as Ms Gardner's article]?

In the last part of this series, Pleinelune shall discuss the nemesis of lesbians everywhere: the bicurious woman.

 

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