News and Opinions

Court of Appeal’s Verdict on 377a Constitutional Challenge: A Missed Opportunity

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements

Joint Statement by Singapore’s LGBT Community Groups

SINGAPORE, Thursday, October 30, 2014 –
We are greatly shocked and disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s ruling against appeals brought forth by Kenneth Chee, Gary Lim, and Tan Eng Hong, thereby upholding the constitutionality of Section 377a of the Penal Code criminalising sex between men.

Despite the authorities’ claim that this law will not be enforced, the existence of Section 377a has a wide-ranging effect not just on Singapore’s Gay men, but also its Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

It gives carte blanche for discrimination and reinforces prejudice, leading to censorship in the media and the aggravation of negative stereotypes, and impacting the health and wellbeing of a significant segment of society.

While we appreciate the Court’s position that it cannot assist in providing a judicial remedy to what it views as a legislative issue, we cannot accept its narrow interpretation of the constitution in this regard, and its view that this is an ‘insistence by a particular group or individual that its/his values be imposed on other groups or individuals’.

It is not an imposition for a segment to seek the same rights as the rest of society. To be viewed as equal in the eyes of the law, to feel safe at home, and to be protected against discrimination, mistreatment, even physical and emotional harm, is a right to which every Singaporean should be entitled, and not denied on the basis of whom they love.

With this verdict, an opportunity to showcase Singapore as a truly accepting, open and inclusive society – and a great place to live, work and play – has been missed. 

Mass Hysteria Relapsed

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements

Mass Hysteria Relapsed


AmOk Collective
Indignation SG
and Sayoni presents:

Mass Hysteria Relapsed


Attention: Health Notice

Mass Hysteria has spread beyond detention and secondary school graduation. There are no expiry dates, no LUGs, but some spectres continue to haunt.

Shrugging off uniforms and habits, the queerdos set their sights on the world outside, to re-act and negotiate the hysterical and the historical, great tropes and expectations, memory and homophobic violence, nightmarish dyke drama and the life cycles of lezbo love.

Come quantify the insanity. Come queer the jealousy. Just come.


24th August, 3pm
24th August, 8pm

Rating: M18 (IDs WILL be checked)

More info -- and the freshest updates -- from the Facebook event!

Get your tickets at the Arts House box office, at the door, or reserve them through this link (opens in new window).

"Open your doors and let us in"

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression

open your doors

This article is written by badriah and is reproduced with permission.

Read this if you are curious about the life of a homosexual. This is based on one person's experience and should not be taken to represent everybody else out there. *SPOILER ALERT No explicit or sexual content here*

Growing up with sisters was difficult as a lesbian because there were societal boxes that we need to fit into and I was a square trying to fit into a triangle.

My sisters like to look pretty and wear their hair really nice and I felt like the ugly one. Being the only one in my family with thick tight curly hair, I could barely do much to them to feel pretty. I hated wearing dresses. I feel like I needed to always keep my knees together or was afraid that wind might blow my skirt up or something. I feel extremely comfortable and free in pants. I always felt jealous of boys because they get to wear comfortable clothes while I was forced to wear itchy, scratchy dresses.

I remember vividly wanting my mum to buy a pair of jeans. I was maybe 8 or 10? I cried and cried until my mum relented. We were at Geylang Serai. There was a bazaar so I guess it was during Ramadan. It was a pair of black Lee jeans. I was so happy when I finally got it.

The toys I loved playing with as a kid was Lego and guns. I did not get to play these things as much with my sisters as I would have loved to but when we played with them I was super happy. Once in a while I had to play Masak-Masak or play House but I only enjoyed the times when I played a more "masculine" role.

I do not identify myself as a man. I just like comfortable and practical clothes and toys that allow me to build things or just run around shooting at things. We all have preferences, I prefer guns to dolls.

Yes I have played with a doll when I was young but what I enjoyed more was not combing Barbie's hair or dressing her up in her many clothes. It was actually building a dollhouse out of cardboard boxes and making it look like a real home. Maybe that's where my dream of being an interior designer started?

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]

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.

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