Sayoni Blog: LBTQ voices from Singapore and beyond

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Are You LBTQ? Experienced Violence or Discrimination?

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements


Have you been teased, bullied or physically locked up or harassed – because you are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer in some other way? Have you had trouble in school, finding a job or flat, or getting the healthcare services you needed?

Some of us shrug off these daily discriminations as everyday happenings. Others have never spoken about the pain we have suffered. Authority figures can be cold and lack understanding of LBTQ people. Our family members may have turned our backs on us.

Do you have a story of your own to share?

Sayoni is conducting a study on LBTQ experiences of violence and discrimination in Singapore. We are looking for people who identify as women across the LBTQ spectrum who are willing to sit down with us to answer some questions. You should also be 18 and above and have lived in Singapore for more than a year.

Your participation is important to help people understand the real situation on the ground. It will drive Sayoni's advocacy work and shed light on the community's needs.

We will keep your data anonymous and do our utmost to protect the privacy of interviewees. To find out more about our study, please email us at hrd[at]sayoni.com.



Civil society statement on racism and xenophobia

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements

We, the undersigned, are alarmed by the recent surge of racism and xenophobia in Singapore.  They threaten the human rights of all (especially migrants) and the health of our political conversation.

The key to addressing the economic frustrations felt by many Singaporeans is to amend the economic policies and structures that cause worsening economic inequality and marginalisation.  These inequitable policies were not instituted by migrants and will not automatically disappear if the migrant population decreases.  We urge for the energies of civil society to be directed toward creating a fairer, more equal society for all, including universal labour rights and employment protections.

Focusing on immigrants does not contribute to these structural changes and instead creates an unsafe and divisive society.  We see the widespread use of racist, aggressive and militarised rhetoric on social media, as well as a trend of blaming foreigners for social ills.  Ordinary people have been threatened in public spaces with nationalist and/or anti-foreigner language.  To identify “true blue Singaporeans”, people appeal to prejudices about race, class, skin colour, names, accent, language, and other markers of difference, creating an oppressive society where people constantly discriminate against one another. This supports various forms of discrimination, not just against non-Singaporeans but also among Singaporeans – for example, on the basis of gender, age, disability, class, ethnicity, descent and other characteristics.

This anti-foreigner approach also stifles constructive political discussion.  Some elevate pink identity cards or National Service to sacred emblems of belonging and entitlement, which cannot then be discussed openly and inclusively.

Violence and Discrimination: Share Your Story With Us

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Research



Sayoni is conducting a research study to document cases of human rights violations against LBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer) women in Singapore because of gender or sexuality. This information will be gathered through semi-structured face-to-face interviews.

If you meet the following criteria, we invite you to participate:

-    Identify as female and LBTQ
-    Have experienced discrimination and/or violence in Singapore as a result of your gender or sexual orientation
-    Aged 18 and above
-    Have lived in Singapore for more than a year

The data collected will be kept anonymous and strictly confidential. We will do our utmost to protect the privacy and safety of respondents.

Your participation is important to help us understand the community’s needs and drive advocacy work to meet these needs. The findings will also fuel our other efforts to improve the day-to-day experiences of LBTQ women and enable their inclusion and participation in Singapore society.

We would be happy to provide more information. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up or find out more.

Advancing Our Rights in ASEAN

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Advocacy

ACSC APF 2014
[Photo by Rainbow Rights Project]


Sayoni is participating in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference, or ASEAN People’s Forum, again this year – this time in Yangon, Myanmar. It’s a huge civil society gathering, larger than before, with some putting the numbers at 1800 activists from all over ASEAN.

In the words of ACSC/APF,

http://aseanpeople.org/about

Every year before the ASEAN Summit, a conference known as the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) is held independently, paralleled to the official ASEAN Summit. Myanmar’s bid for the rotating ASEAN chair was granted, so it is responsible as well to host the ASEAN People’s Forum where hundreds of civil society actors from the ASEAN region will gather to represent voices of civil societies.

This year’s theme is “Advancing ASEAN Peoples’ Solidarity towards Sustainable Peace, Development, Justice and Democratization and address issues around Peace; Justice and Human Rights; Development and Democratization; and ASEAN.”


ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Media Release

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements

Media release
March 13, 2014
For immediate release


The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus’ Affirms ‘We Are #ASEANtoo’
& Calls States And People to Support Inclusion of SOGIE in the ASEAN



March 13, 2014 - The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) yesterday launched its ‘We are #ASEANtoo’ campaign on its social media sites in the lead up to the ASEAN People’s Forum that will take place in Burma from 21 to 23 March 2014. The social media campaign calls online users to show their support for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) in the ASEAN by using the hashtag #ASEANtoo as they send supportive tweets and Instagrams.


In addition, the ASC released a summary of laws that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans*, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) persons in the ASEAN. This is accompanied by online posters of the ASC’s recommendations to the ASEAN to promote and protect the rights of LGBTIQ persons. The posters can be found in eight major languages used in the ASEAN – Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Malay, Tamil, Thai, and Vietnamese. The full recommendations can be found on the website.


“The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness regarding the ASC’s recommendations, which address some of the pressing issues concerning LGBTIQ persons in the ASEAN. The ASC calls the government of all ASEAN countries to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ persons and to comply with human rights standards, establish national level ASEAN mechanisms and review existing human rights instruments, and depathologize SOGIE,” said Hla Myat Tun, of Colors of Rainbow, Myanmar.

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