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Launch of Coming Out Guide (Preliminary Version)

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Coming Out

Coming Out Guide by Sayoni

Sayoni presents the first ever Coming Out Guide in Singapore. Please provide your feedback on the guide through this link [DO NOT CLICK: WINDOW FOR FEEDBACK HAS PASSED]

(Update: You can download the word document version of the guide here)

This preliminary version of the guide was launched on 1 August, at the opening of IndigNation 2009, Singapore’s pride season. Anj Ho, the leader of the team who put together the Guide, gave a short address, reproduced here:

When I first saw the design of cover for the guide, I laughed.

It reflects the question of someone wondering apprehensively. 'What if', and then tapers off to a whisper, 'I'm gay?' Half-hidden, almost as if one is afraid to ask, and even more afraid to say the words 'I'm gay'.

Then the words in small print: 'a coming out guide', small enough to embolden the cautious questioning person to pick up the guide and walk away with it; clear enough so that those seeking will not miss it.

It speaks to those whom we hope to reach:
essentially, anyone who finds difficulty in communicating about her or his sexual orientation.

The first memory I had of experiencing great injustice was an article in TODAY, written by one of our infamous law professors. [I shall refrain from speaking the name, but you know we only have 2, so it's not hard to guess.]

She quoted a study in which Exodus ex-gays reported being free from homosexuality, reinforcing homosexuality as a mental illness and the possibility of a 'cure'. She conveniently left out numerous other studies that spoke of reparative therapy as harmful and ineffective. Spitzer, the researcher whose study she quoted, was up in arms against anti-gay groups who misused his study.

This is the problem. There is a massive amount of information, but sometimes, we hear some parts more often than others. At other times, information is not readily available or digestible. How do we ascertain that what we received is accurate or not?

We need to critique the information we have, or else we will fall into the trap of whoever speaks the loudest or seems the most credible, is seen as 'right'.

Another incident took place in a small forum. A group of gay people, who were attached for some years, sat on the panel. Someone from the audience asked, 'How long do gay relationships last?'

One by one, the panelists shared, that for some reason, most gay relationships dissolve by the 7th year. Someone added, that since lesbian relationships are so intense, you have to multiply the duration by a few times to match the duration equivalence of straight relationships. The forum ended on that note.

If gay relationships cannot last, I have nothing to say, but this is not true. It is one thing for an anti-gay person to think so; it is quite another for a gay person to internalize all these.

What I have shared are some of the common myths of gay people. In Sayoni's coming out guide, we address common myths and point out how to spot myths.

Having such knowledge before coming out is critical to a gay person's sense of self and esteem. It enables one to weather the possibly arduous coming out process better. The guide is certainly not exhaustive, but it's a start.

Following these, we also looked at the pros and cons of coming out, to oneself, at work/school, to friends and family. We rounded off the book with a few coming out stories. We are still waiting for more stories to come in.

I am grateful to Sayoni for this opportunity to be part of the coming out guide and to the Global Fund for Women for supporting this project. I would love to acknowledge the writers and the designer in this 7-person team for their time and effort. Thank you also, to everyone who contributed stories. Without all of you, this guide would not have been possible.

Please feel free to give your feedback and comments on the guide over the next three months. This guide will later be published and made available at various locations around Singapore.

With this, I thank you for listening.

Coming out stories I

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Coming Out

In conjunction with the launch of Sayoni’s coming out guide, Sayoni presents Singaporean coming out stories.


My earliest concrete memory of questioning my sexuality happened at Sec 2. I was developing feelings for a girl who seemed to have taken a liking towards me during this time.

What I remember was the rush of adrenaline whenever I saw her, the feeling of warmth whenever she smiled at me, and the crazy things I did in order to accidentally ‘bump’ into her. At that time, my dad (probably noticing my close friendship), spoke to me about how it was normal for adolescents to develop crushes on their same-sex peers during their development. This piece of information sustained and comforted me during early adolescence because it told me that I was okay and that those feelings would go away.

My next significant memory happened in late adolescence. A girl whom I liked (at this time, I convinced myself I only liked her as a friend) fell down and hurt herself. Upon physically helping her, I experienced such an overpowering, indescribable sensation in my body that I had to excuse myself to go to the ladies. Safe inside the toilet cubicle, I exclaimed to myself, ‘God you are screwed! You are so gay’’

I didn’t tell anyone during this time because I had no idea what was happening to me. I did not want to have these ‘special’ feelings towards any girl and I desperately clung onto my dad’s words years before that it was a natural part of my development and would go away. Even when I hit my 20s, I reassured myself that I was a late developer and my attraction to boys would come when I had ‘developed’. Even when I was with my first girlfriend in my 20s, I would question my gayness because a part of me felt that my relationship was ‘a friendship gone wrong’ and did not mean that I was gay. I resisted the concept so much that I kept this relationship a secret for so long, even among my closest friends, even among friends who were themselves gay.

Launch: Coming Out Guide

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Coming Out

It can be difficult, risky and yet rewarding for us to communicate honestly and openly about our attraction or relationship with someone of the same sex – to ‘come out'. This Coming Out guide by Sayoni seeks to provide basic information and support to persons who are considering coming out.

It describes commonly used terms about sexuality, often propagated myths and how to spot them. It covers frequent concerns of a person coming out to themselves, to parents, friends and peers, preparing them for possible scenarios and suggesting approaches. Real-life stories and a list of local resources are included to support readers in their individual journeys.

Sayoni will be launching a preview version of the booklet publicly at the Indignation Opening Reception on 1 August 2009.

Some Kinda Wonderful

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Coming Out

This is piece of guest writing by dubdew, who published this on her blog some time ago. It is dedicated to her girlfriend, who still makes her feel that fuzzy warmth after all this while.

Taken from

I haven’t even had that much time to get to know you. Surely the only you I’ve had the chance to get to know is the one you tell me of. The one who saw those crazed days, months, years, fly by, the one who runs, the one who hangs on for dear life, the one who loved, the one who lost, the one who laughs and makes me laugh so impossibly hard. I’ve fretted my mind into quite a knot over you, and it’s the same you that I couldn’t quite seem to push away with as much conviction as I probably should have, should you have turned out to be anyone else. I can’t quite decide what someone like you could possibly want with someone like me – I’m so .. young, I’m so green, I’m so aimless, and it’s all just one big mess that I’d never voluntarily take on.

Yet you do. You take me on with the determination of a gung-ho kamikaze bomber. You’ve taken the insane amount nonsense I’ve given you in an equally insanely short period of time, nary a complaint within earshot; simply that bemused smirk which creeps across your face like sunlight over the horizon, then finally melts away into that musical laugh as I try to tell you what’s going through my mind and end up retreating under my covers. You sit right there in your chair, legs crossed, knee resting against the table, fingers twirling your watch around when they’re not otherwise tucked in your pockets or folded across your chest. Standoffish is what you seem to like describing yourself as, yet I catch you leaning forward and perching yourself on this very precarious ledge, nonchalantly swinging your legs over the edge, cards lain out on the table. You’re ready to retreat into your shell should I so choose to request of you, but that’s not the point, is it? The point is that you’re out here, waiting for me to take your hand, even if this crashes and burns the very day after I step off that ledge with you.

Going Home for the Chinese New Year

Written by Ebelle ( guest writer ) on . Posted in Coming Out

This article is written by our guest writer, Ebelle.

This Chinese New Year was an interesting experience for me and my girlfriend. Having dated for close to a year, it was about time that we had that 'meet the extended family' session with her family.

On my side, she has already met my aunties, uncles and much of my extended family including my grandma when I brought her to Jakarta for a visit. My grandma even lived with us for a month when she came to Singapore. So it was no surprise when my uncle assumed she would be joining us for reunion lunch by sending me a SMS with the details of the lunch and ending it with "Irene is coming right?" The only reason why she hasn't met my parents is because they both live on the other side of the world. If we are to visit, I am sure my mother will welcome Irene and ask her when we are going to give her grandchildren. As for my father, even though I'm not out to him, I will not hesitate to bring Irene to meet him if he comes to town.

Her family though, is another story.


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