Sayoni Presents at Indignation 2007…

Written by Indu on . Posted in Events

A line-up of exciting events, ready to make you laugh, cry and think. This year, we present 5 diverse events, and guess what, boys? You can come and play too.
Events in chronological order:

BIFOCAL

Date: Saturday, 4 August 2007
Time: 3 – 5:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

Image credit: http://www.news.utoronto.ca/img/2005/sds.jpgThis ground-breaking event will cover issues that bisexuals face every day in coming out, relationships and finding their own space within the queer community. Can bisexuals ever be monogamous? Are bisexuals in straight relationships traitors to the GLBT community? Fearless and unshy of controversy, this forum is for anyone who has once asked these questions.

??? – DOES LIKENESS MATTER?
Date: Saturday, 4 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Venue: 72-13
tongbutong_5Queer-themed Chinese writing has found a place in Singapore�s literary landscape, individually. Now they will come together at this groundbreaking event, for dialogue and expression. Celebrating diversity, this promises to be a literary treat for all. Featuring academic and playwright Quah Syren, writer Ng How Wee, young writers Teng Qian Xi, Willy Yeo and more, the audience will be treated to a forum wherein the intricacies of forbidden love and its inspiration, as spoken through Singapore Chinese literary works (original and translated), are explored. Follow us as we seek camaraderie in diversity. Or perhaps it doesn�t matter at all.

Licence from MDA pending

TALL TALES AND SHORT STORIES

Date: Sunday, 5 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

How do women who don�t pair up primarily to procreate view the expiry of their youth and ovaries? Ovidia�s short story takes a light-hearted look at how one woman who�s no longer entitled to free drink vouchers on Ladies� Nights survives the stereotypes of middle age, straying lovers and a (sterilised) ex-stray cat.Yi-sheng�s offering, on the other hand, is a spicy phantasmagoric romp through the eyes of a man who sexually desires old men.

Licence from MDA pending

RELATIONSHIP MYTHS

Date: Monday, 6 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Venue:72-13anjho_1

Queer relationships don�t last compared to straight relationships. In this talk, Anj Ho will challenge such myths with research literature and present to you what have been found to make relationships tick. Regardless of your orientation, you will find this interactive talk refreshingly informative.

YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND YOU

Date: Sunday, 12 August 2007
Time: 3 – 6:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

OCW-sayoni

OCWomen and Sayoni are pleased to bring you a groundbreaking workshop which focusses on our selves in relationships.

The workshop takes you through a light-hearted process of reflection on your past/present relationships with the aim of providing you with greater clarity and self awareness.

Understanding the types of relationships we have lived through and the dynamics in the partnerships we make, gives clarity to what we are like when we are in a relationship. Understanding ourselves in our relationships is key to truly living a relationship.

Clarity and honesty within is crucial when inspecting our numerous motivations and our modes of operation. Only then will we begin to know who we truly are and build the relationship that resonates us. There will also be interactive discussions on the types of relationships, the roles that we play in them and signs of negative relationships.

For an afternoon of enlightenment, come!

The Indignation Question

Written by lublub on . Posted in Events

An observation that perplexes me at times:

What are the real needs of gay people? And how do we reach out to them?

———–

This was the third run of Indignation this year. As expected, it was highly anticipated and many activists and volunteers were preoccupied with its preparation and execution. There was a great variety of events being planned, and this time there was an improved �gender balance� in terms of the programs offered. There were also some landmark events, such as the kissing exhibition and a public sharing by 3 transsexuals. All in all, a very exciting two weeks indeed.

For most of the events I attended, the program ran smoothly without many hiccups and plenty of refreshments were provided. There were also many helpful volunteers on hand to distribute flyers, souvenirs and usher people to their seats. The topics covered in the events themselves were wisely chosen as they were pertinent and perhaps even taboo (yes even in the gay community itself!) and they were thoroughly discussed. In fact, there was a huge range in terms of programs offered: from forums, to dialogues to readings and film screenings. Indeed, there was much to learn through the sharing of people�s perspectives, their struggles and triumphs.

So I thought, isn�t this a great opportunity for gay people to look into a mirror and gather more insights about themselves and people like them? Why aren�t �hordes� of people, flocking to such events?

Sure, the turnouts have been large indeed. But I would estimate that 70% of the crowd�. are old-timers (i.e. repeat visitors from the previous Indignation, or active members of the various participating organizations in Indignation)

I don�t think publicity is a problem. Nope. Instead, the �bad press� we�re getting from �The Sewage Times� (as one fellow participant joked to me), is ironically creating tons of attention-grabbing publicity for us! Also, the emails on the mailing groups, e-advertisements etc. certainly have a wide reach encompassing thousands of people. I know of many gay friends who know of Indignation but choose not to attend. People seem to be aware, but not affected. As a result— It always seems that there is only a niche group of people who attend openly-gay events, despite publicity.

————

There could be many reasons why�

Firstly, many people prefer to live out their �gayness� in the closet. No need for them to attend pride season activities, wave the rainbow flag and immerse in deep contemplation of what it means to be gay with a whole auditorium of other queers (also all in deep thought). For them, perhaps the company of friends, family and closed ones are sufficient enough. Any queer-centric issues are easily figured out through the usage of the Internet. Or perhaps it�s even a non-issue for them. Gay means gay, lor. No need for them to� �Go out there�.

I�ve always thought this was the answer to our �re-run� turnouts. That despite big publicity, there were usually few new faces due to people�s lack of desire to attend. But there is a second reason.

Recently, I was speaking to a schoolmate of mine, and I asked her why she wasn�t coming. And she reasoned by stating, quite plainly, that when you boil the whole event down to its bare bones, its main function is that it is a social. That most people go to the events to mingle with others they know.

It might not be the main reason. But it definitely is a strong, often, the �turning-point� impetus for us to attend. Such events, underneath the official program structure, provided vast opportunities for people to interact intimately in a cozy setting, catch up with one another and stand around in little groups. Not saying that this is a bad thing per se. But it is something that inevitably develops in such small settings.

Hey, I�m guilty of doing these things too. And when she said that, I understood what she meant. And therefore� what it means for someone new. Someone who comes without �connections� inside the community, and without people to mingle with after the show is over. Perhaps for them, such events might be intimidating. If we are alone and lost, we tend to stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the cliques and chatty people. For some who choose not to come, perhaps the appeal of learning new perspectives is far out-shadowed by the prospect of facing the not-so-appealing social context etched into the event.

Thirdly, another reason she mentioned was the lack of interest in the events offered. And I was like �???? But everything applies to you!�. To which she said, �But. Gay-centric stuff is not my interest.�

Sometimes, oftentimes, I�d have to admit that most of us who attend such events… are a different �breed� of gay people. Perhaps there is a stronger sense of social activism or self-awareness of our queer-ness. That is why we are attracted to events or programs that are specifically targeted towards sexuality. It is a big issue, and focus, in our lives. Yet for other gay people, perhaps being gay is not a big issue inside of them. By �big�, I mean an issue which they actually channel time and energy to reflect over. Perhaps for some gay people, being �gay� only shows up when they fall in love, or have sex. But at other times, they are just like everyone else. For them, there is no need to ponder and dissect and pickle their brains over sexuality issues. It just� IS. Period. No need to consciously step out and discuss. Instead, they might be more interested in stuff like films and art. But gay-centric stuff? Nah�.

—————–

This again, brings me back to my first question. What do gay people really want and need?

Sometimes, as activists, we tend to think on a different level. Many of the programs we come up with tend to appeal to us (duh), but they might not necessarily appeal to the man on the ground. Perhaps that is why Indignation attracts a certain set of people. People like US. Us: meaning people who are already involved in the scene.

So how do we really reach out to the diverse world out there? And invite them through the doors of all these painstakingly-planned events? After all, we do this not for our own personal glorification, or as a cover-up means to have more �fun with our friends�. We do this because we have the community in mind. That we want to reach out to them, and hopefully add value and enrichment to their lives through the events that are planned. And at the same time, make a stand for being gay.

Because it�ll be a sad day if we find ourselves disconnected to the very people we seek to engage. Minority within a minority.

Indignation, anyone?

Maybe not everyone.

It is definitely difficult to ascertain what the community needs, due to the sheer diversity of personalities out there. Despite the fact that we�ll never hit the perfect formula, or cover the needs of every single gay person �. perhaps this is one question, we should never stop asking ourselves. Because in the process of asking, we can reflect, and we can improve. As I was writing this article, it dawned upon me that it was difficult to come up with concrete suggestions, or really pin down what gay people really need. Even the friend I spoke to had only one (her) opinion to offer, out of the many thousands of opinions out there.

But I guess, as a start, we can always increase our awareness of people�s needs, and ask the person next to us if they are coming for Indignation. And if not,

Why.

3rd ILGA-Asia Regional Conference

Written by snorkeem on . Posted in Events

The 3rd International Lesbian and Gay Association-Asia Regional Conference was held in Chiangmai, Thailand from 24th to 27th January 2008. Being a member of ILGA, a few of us from Sayoni Singapore travelled to participate and vote in the event.

At first, we were caught off guard by the sheer diversity of people who attended. The conference brought together about 160 delegates from a whole range of Asian countries, to name a few, China, HongKong, Macau, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Mongolia, Burma, Philippines, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Kyrgystan, Armenia, etc etc.

The difficulty of initial communication and fruitful networking aside, seminar sessions were many and diverse in their content and quality. Of particular importance was the launching of the Yogyakarta Principles by Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn.

Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand) is UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Democratic People�s Republic of Korea and professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He co-chaired the experts� meeting which drafted The Yogyakarta Principles, a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply.

http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/

Sayoni was able to help out by facilitating the women’s caucus on the first day and learned a lot from the women sharing about their views on various issues pertaining to the personal, community and the world at large. Subsequent days were followed by sessions on transgender issues, laws, rights, HIV, country focus issues, women issues, etc.

A gay pride parade was also held on the third day (Saturday) of the conference that marched from the Puttastan Buddhist Centre to the Night Bazaar / Pantip Plaza. The first in Chiangmai, it was greeted with curiosity from the locals, delight by tourists and participation by some who wanted to show their support.

Sayoni would like to thank Myo, Mira, Chiang Mai based LGBT groups, The Committee on Lesbigay Rights in Burma (CLRB) and M-Plus for organizing the conference on the ground.

Wilde-Indignation Fund-raising Gala Premiere (Singapore)

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Fridae.com, in support of People Like Us� Indignation gay pride season, is organising the Singapore premiere of the film �Wilde� on Tuesday 13 May 2008, at the Lido theatres.

Directed by Brian Gilbert, this 1997 film tells the story of celebrated poet, novelist and playwright Oscar Wilde, who in 1895 was convicted of �gross indecency� under a UK law that was the precursor of Singapore�s infamous Section 377A. Wilde was a martyr to the moral hypocrisy of his time, and which unfortunately still lives on in Singapore.

The film was banned by the Singapore censors when first released. It has now been re-rated under revised film guidelines (post 2002 censorship review) as R21.

Fridae�s gala premiere is intended as a fund-raiser for Indignation, since Indignation events themselves (scheduled for August 2008) are traditionally free of charge, in order to be accessible to everyone. Tickets are priced at $20 (US$15) and $50 (US$38) – the latter includes a cocktail reception – and are available from Fridae�s movie site, or more directly from their tickets shop.

Crocodile men�s wear and Shaw theatres are the other sponsors and People Like Us would like to express our thanks to them and Fridae for their support.

Sayoni has been, and still is, a proud participant in Indignation over the years, and we would like to express our full support to this Gala Premiere.

Indignation 2008!

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

 

Singapore�s 4th annual Pride Season is coming again – in August 2008

Rainbow bridgeThere are talks and forums, art and literature, and of course, fun social and outdoor events – for learning, celebrating and building bridges with those outside our communities. So please keep your evenings free in August and come to as many as you can.

All events are free of charge unless otherwise stated.

Sayoni will also be hosting our own events during Indignation. Please check out the full list of events HERE.

Indignation 2008: Queer Women within Feminist Singapore

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

 

Ms. Constance Singam, current president of AWARE, Singapore�s leading advocacy group for gender equality, will shed some light on the place of queer women within the feminist movement. Where have we been?

She will speak about political and historical context, difficulties negotiating for respect and diversity, her personal experiences and the future.

Find out more about the feminist movement in Singapore and our part in it.

About Constance Singam

Constance is well-known for being an active and vocal social activist and feminist. She has two degrees in Literature, including an MA.

Her recent publications include �A History of the TWC: Building Social Space in Singapore� and the essay �Quietly Resisting; Silently Subverting: The Wayward Ways of Singapore Women� (Postmodern Singapore, Select Publishing). She was a co-editor of the book �Re-Presenting Singapore Women� (Landmark Publications).

Her social contributions were as Founding Member of TWC1, TWC2, and MediaWatch and as the Past President of SCWO.

Constance was a Columnist in several publications, including �Her World� and �Today� and held AWARE presidency for two terms prior to the present one: 1987-1989, 1994-1996, 2007-present.

About AWARE

AWARE is Singapore�s leading advocacy group dedicated to promoting gender equality and understanding. Since its inception in 1985, AWARE has brought women�s perspectives to national issues and has focused on Research & Advocacy, Educational Programs, and Direct Services.

AWARE seeks to identify areas for improvement in gender equality, encourage positive change and support women in realising their highest potential. It believes that gains made by women are not gains made at the expense of men. Rather, they are gains which benefit families and society as a whole.

AWARE is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation and is funded solely by donations, grants, and member subscriptions.

Date: Saturday, 16 August 2008
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

Outline of “Brain Surgery” talk

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Events

Here’s the outline for “Brain Surgery: What’s in the minds of homophobes?”

How the term “homophobia” came about:
In 1972, at the onset of the stonewall rebellion [July 1969], George Weinberg coined �homophobia�. He defined it as �the dread of being at close quarters with homosexuals.. The revulsion toward homosexuals and often the desire to inflict punishment as retribution�. Mark Freedman later described it as �an extreme rage and fear reaction to homosexuals�. Poet Audre Lorde�s definition in 1978 was, �fear of feelings of love for members of one�s own sex and therefore hatred of those feelings in others�.

The definition of “homophobia”:
Homophobia has little in common with other types of phobia. It should be seen in the framework of prejudice (attitudes) and discrimination (behaviors). Researchers who published papers in recent years generally define it along the lines of prejudice, hatred or contempt towards lesbian and gay people [with extension to other sexual minorities].

—————

“Common types” of homophobes:
In these few slides, i put down examples that i have read of, seen, heard of or experienced e.g. gay bashers.

—————

Wright, Adams and Bernat’s homophobia scale:
You can access the scale from here. There are other scales measuring homophobia such as “The Attitudes Toward Gay Men Subscale” and “The attitudes towards lesbian women subscale”.
*Please note that scales are not just any set of questions put together. Scales are developed and rigorously tested by statisticians so that they measure what they are supposed to measure. Not just by face validity [i.e. the questions "look okay"], but with convergent and divergent validity [it correlates highly with other scales measuring similar things and correlates lowly with scales that measures dissimilar things], consistency [the items are tapping onto the same concept] etc. One item does not give you a meaningful score, answers to all items in a scale are required to compute a score. Not every researcher uses scales… simply because scales are not developed for every concept out there.*

—————

Profile of the homophobe:

Next, i discussed the article which was used in the anti-repeal of 377A.
The reference:
Detenber, B. H., Genite, M., Ku, M. K. Y., Ong, C. P. L., Tong, H. Y., & Yeow, M. L. H. (2007). Singaporeans� attitudes towards lesbians and gay men and their tolerance of media portrayals of homosexuality. Internal journal of public opinion, 19(3), 367-379.

From this article, someone made the conclusion that Singapore is not ready for the repeal of 377A [377A criminalize sex between gay men] because 68.6% expressed negative attitudes, 22.9% expressed positive attitudes, 8.5% were neutral. The participants for this study were acquired randomly and the demographics profile was similar to that of the general population.

But if you read the study for yourself, the study is actually seeking predictors of negative attitudes towards lesbian and gay people. Guess what they found?

There are 3 tables in the journal article. Table 1 displayed results showing predictors. Using correlation, they found that age [older], income [lower], education [lower], conformity to norms [more conformist] and intrinsic religious orientation [versus extrinsic religious orientation] correlate highly with poor attitudes towards LG people. The highest correlation going to intrinsic religious orientation [IRO]. Intrinsic religious orientation is defined as “seeing religion as a driving force in life”.

Using regression, which estimates the unique contribution of each predictor, marital status [these people were significantly older] and IRO were the strongest predictors.

In the second table, the researchers showed that Christians scored the highest in IRO, followed by Muslims, Buddhists and free-thinkers. In the third and last table, the researchers showed that Christians and Muslims were less tolerant compared to Buddhists and freethinkers.

Essentially, the researchers are saying that intrinsic religious orientation is the biggest predictor of negative attitudes towards LG people. And they showed that people of certain religions were more likely to be intrinsically religious and hence more likely to be anti-gay.

Adding to the study above [continuing on the profile of the homophobe]:

1. Male
Majority of gay bashers are in their teens or early twenties. Some have said that anti-gay violence is a control of manhood. Researchers have also shown that men who endorse homophobic and sexist items are likely to endorse hegemonic masculinity items.

2. Heterosexist
Heterosexism is the belief in the superiority of heterosexuals or heterosexuality evidenced in the exclusion, by omission or design, or non heterosexual persons in policies, procedures, events or activities.

3. Misogynistic
Researchers found links between homophobic violence and violence against young women. Those with traditional gender role attitudes tend to express higher levels of homophobia.

4. Authoritarian
Authoritarians have been described as “self righteous individuals who maintain a strong acceptance of traditional values and norms, possess a general willingness to submit to authority, and display a general tendency to aggress against others (especially those who threaten their conventional and traditional values)”.

It has been suggested that there is an underlying trait called “Conservatism”. Conservatism is linked to �national strength and order�. Order, discipline and striving to be successful and powerful. Outcomes of behavior important. Societal norms should be obeyed.

Conservatism has been linked to racism [e.g. lack of support for benefits for Australian Aborigines], sexism [e.g. lack of support for increased job options for women], greater acceptance of rape myth [i.e. rape victims deserve to be raped], lack of support for income redistribution, religious intolerance, homophobia etc.

—————

Homophobia may lead to violence.

A study:
Homophobia and physical aggression toward homosexual and heterosexual individuals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 110(1), 179-187.

Basically participants played a game in which winners administer shocks to losers. Shock intensity and shock duration were measured.

The gist of this study is easy to understand. Aggression against gay people may be powered by anger-hostility [angry, irritable, hostile, scornful, disgusted and loathing] and anxiety. Negative affect [afraid, ashamed, distressed, guilty, jittery, nervous, scared, upset...] was not found to be a contributing factor.

Some people pointed out that non-homophobic participants end up shocking their opponents more. Well, the difference for non-homophobic participants is very small like 0.16 seconds. For homophobic participants, the difference is about 1.00, which is many times more. Homophobic participants not only shock “homosexual” confederate more, they also shock the “heterosexual” confederate longer and harder than their non-homophobic participants counterparts [using mean].

—————

Combating homophobia

No one is born homophobic… homophobia is learned. Through direct observation, imitation… participation in rewarding interactions and experience of differential treatment.

And after it is learned, homophobia is sustained by the functions it serves. The functional approach says that people hold attitudes because of the psychological function or need that they satisfy. For example: to make sense of the world, to relate and maintain relationships with others, to protect the self from own homoerotic feelings, to maximize rewards and minimize punishments.

Some ways of combating homophobia:

1. Pointing out inconsistencies
E.g. Correcting myths
[Those who perceive the issue as extremely important to themselves are unlikely to change.]

2. Introducing new perspectives
E.g. Introducing gay friends if that’s an area that they are not sure about. It’s somewhat like correcting myths in a non-verbal way.

3. Providing substantiated information
Only works for those who are willing to think or assess the quality of their perspective’s assumptions and arguments carefully.

4. The contact hypothesis
Equal status contact between gay and non-gay people.

5. The media

The reference:
Remembering Gay/Lesbian Media Characters: Can Ellen and Will Improve Attitudes toward Homosexuals? Bonds-Raacke, Cady, Schlegel, Harris & Firebaugh (2007)

In the experiment, one group of participants was asked to recall a positive portrayal of a gay/lesbian character on TV or movie, while another group was asked to recall a negative portrayal. Will [from Will and Grace] and Ellen Degeneres were mentioned most frequently. When a character was portrayed positively, participants perceived character’s friends as more accepting of her/his homosexuality. It was also found that attitudes towards gay men improved through positive portrayal priming.

————–

* Special thanks to Kai for coming up with the graphics for this talk; to pleinelune for being a dedicated mouse-clicker; to Kelly for organizing this; Alex Au for the catchy title of the talk [i first entitled it blandly as "homophobia"]; photographers [humph and edshutter] and to everyone from Irene’s gang of helpers who came down to run the event… last of all, friends who supported me one way or another. Thank you.

Indignation 2008: A Closure

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Indignation 2008 season is now over – all good things must come to an end – and at the end of yet another successful pride month, Sayoni would like to thank all its supporters and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make our events possible. We would like to thank, as well, all the people who turned up at the events and made it vibrant.

Here’s wishing for another year of progress!

Contradiction IV: Zhuang Yisa

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Events

We shall be publishing the works read by the speakers at Contradiction IV in a series. We thank all the writers for allowing us to do so!

Both these poems are by Zhuang Yisa.

The Tough Guys

It is a serious matter. This spying
from behind a shower curtain,
across the ginger corridor of desire.

It is real business, and only real men
do it: show me what you have, and what I show you
will leave a bittersweet aftertaste

in your mouth. An open mouth
begs the question: what makes us real, as men?
You steal a glance

in the sauna, at the stud’s
towel-clad reserve, to observe the stoic,
unreciprocated silence

that might answer the question for you.
Ask and thee shall receive. A hunter’s credo.
The waiting isn’t ritual; it is mental.

Out of the gym we carry weights.
We are the tough guys. We are the soldiers,
the husbands, the fianc�s,

the boyfriends and the secret lovers
bracing our souls, to march on under
a sky willed cloudless into monochrome, blue as soap

held in a dispenser, pressed disinterestedly by so many hands.

Dog Lover

The best breeders love their dogs
to the point of exclusion

of even the slightest possibility of loving
another human. They are at one

with their dogs; they cannot tell what is worth loving
beyond the merits of their own species

except, perhaps, this potential in the rest: the ease
of being manipulated, bought over

by blind devotion to the superiority
of their breed. Knowing this,

I followed you home. Knowing
what I knew then, I put a leash

over every resistance
in my body, and put it in a cage; I pushed the key

into your hand, then lay next to you: we spent the night
in the hot stench of dogs

not knowing if the night would outlive either of us
should we bare our teeth and bark.

Contradiction IV: Adrianna Tan

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Events

Why I am Still a Feminist

by Adrianna Tan

I am still a feminist because I am no longer ashamed of saying I am one. I have grown tired for apologizing for so many of the things I am: for being liberal, lesbian, anti-Bush and anti-war, a Christian that hates the fundamentalists. Anymore to apologize for, and I may have to apologize for being Chinese.

I was feminist before I was lesbian. I was feminist before I was liberal. I was feminist before I knew feminism had become synonymous with �bra burning� and �aggressive� (I like my bras too much, and I prefer to be passive-aggressive). I was feminist the moment I was acutely aware that being a girl meant there were many things I could not do, and so much more I was expected to.

The first feminist I knew was my father, who taught me I must never bow to the demands of any man, and must never let any man suppress my intellect or free will. He must have known I was a feminist from the time I was 4, when, I did not believe the distribution of potato chips was fair and equal, and demanded he demonstrate by bringing out actual weighing scales, that I had as much as my male brothers and cousins.

In primary school, I was an avid soccer player. About as good as the boys, the boys told me. I played every recess time and after school, every day. I was the midfielder with stamina, who was fast as well and was everywhere and anywhere on the pitch at all times. Good enough, that the boys thought nothing of inserting me into their ambitious tournament plans for the next few years: we were a team. I started the first match in the tournament with the brand new soccer boots I paid for myself. At half time, the referee � his name was Mr Azman � said I couldn�t play, ever again. Even though this was an informal tournament in school, with no rulebook or precedents, he said that�s just the way it is: no girls allowed.

By the time I was 18, I thought I already had a pretty good grip on the �girl� issue. During one class debate, a member of the opposition made a disparaging remark about how sometimes rape victims �were just asking for it�. Livid, I made a comment which led him to say: �Let�s go outside, I�ll show you how good it is to be raped.� This same person is on his way to becoming a lawyer, and I fear.

I�m turning 21 this year and while I don�t play soccer anymore, as a photographer I�m told �they want guys, because they look more like photographers�, as a Mac Evangelist in retail I�m told they �want to consult the guys�, even though I know as much. Guys still hit on my girlfriend in front of me because I evidently don�t count and I�m not the real thing; if I�m opinionated, I�m being either aggressive or emotional, and if I�m stoic, I�m heartless.

As a member of the majority race and male, you may not believe it when I say that sexism is alive and well, because you have never encountered it. You see female managers and female CEOs, females in positions above you, and you fear for your male superiority. What you don�t see is the sacrifice only women are made to make when they choose career, how they could be similarly qualified and similarly excellent or better leaders, yet climb slower and earn less, how if they are assertive they are aggressive female bosses, how if they are not then they are ineffectual leaders and submissive. What you don�t see is how she had to fight hard for most things that come easily to you.

As a member of the majority race and male, you sat next to me in school today at the library cafe, talking about how your girlfriend is not as loud as pornstars when you �fuck her�, wondering if that�s because �she doesn�t know how to express her pleasure�, then your friends all started talking about blowjobs and said in no unclear terms, that the world revolves around �your cocks�.

I will continue to be a feminist until the day my classmates are not seen as objects, whose pleasure is necessarily held up against porn industry ideals, until the day their pleasure is not dictated by the selfish dicks they date.

As a member of the majority race and male, you fathered one of my closest friends. When your daughter complained to you that she used to be touched inappropriately by your friend�s son, when your daughter discussed with you the topic of male infidelity, you laughed and said, �We�re men, we�re like that.�

I will continue to be a feminist until the day every father stands up for their daughter�s rights, the way my father does.

As a member of the majority race and male, everything you might be culpable for is �because she asked for it.� Can�t have children? She must be infertile. Want to use condoms? Only if she pays for it. She doesn�t seem to like sex with you? There must be something wrong with her. Pregnant? She sleeps around. Sex video spreads on the internet? It�s her morals. Lesbian? They haven�t met the right man, and you just might be the one.

I will continue to be a feminist until the day my friends� fathers stop explaining away their affairs based upon what their wives supposedly lack.

So when you say, those feminists, in the same breath as those nazis, those communists, those crazy bra burning women, you need to know that the object of our hatred is never men � it is what some men do to us.

I will continue to be a feminist until the day my uncle in the flesh and blood stops being an asshole, and his immigrant wife is not afraid to divorce him and press charges.

I will continue to be a feminist until it is realized that while it is best for every child to have his mother and father, if the father is a dangerous man he has to be kept away from her beautiful young children before he does any permanent damage.

I will continue to be a feminist until it is realized the existence of many good men does not mean it is irrelevant to be a feminist. They are our fathers, our boyfriends and husbands, our sons. All it takes is just one man, that isn�t good, to destroy the lives of too many women around the world, and among us now.

This is why I will remain a feminist, I�m not apologetic for it, I won�t burn my bra, I don�t hate you, and no, you can�t watch either.

Contradition IV: Chrystal

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Events

These three poems were written by Chrystal, read at Contradiction IV. We thank the writers for allowing us to publish these works on our site.

INK ON SKIN

self-expression or self-release?

ink on skin more like blood seeping through

art and architecture colliding

on surfaces and within

the body

is beautiful. her body is beautiful.

a landscape genius with shading

and smooth curve.

an entire canvas – a work in progress

with drawings that misdirect, drawing

attention only to

a gun which recognizes we are all to blame

its nozzle pointing in, its handle open for your grasp

I grasp her arm and she lets me

puts the trigger to my anxious untrained fingers

and I have hurt her

in my defense of expression and release

too many times

her heart once worn, red, on her upper left sleeve

now lower, worn out, perhaps, or still falling with hope in gray flames, still burning

waiting for my silly searching to end where it began -

a nautical star for direction and a banner left blank

with an invisible inscription. her name written in permanence.

this landscape

is genius.

five feet and four inches and the occasional additional seven and a half strapped on

a version of our aversion to the need for heels or height

a little lean and you learn that when it’s all laid down, the world

will slip into reach just right.

but the landscape is genius. in dim light.

a skyline crafted like odd-lengthed crayons in every shade of Crayola’s blue and gray

scraping the night as if god’s ass is bare and daring

the boldest, tallest, to take him on.

fool enough to try and fooled enough to stand

before the lobby

at street level and shrinking.

but away from that city

such erections are mere shadows

cast upon faces like masses of clitoral vindication.

so let’s make art with our bodies

and war with our voices

link arms, build walls so great in front clinics

and around women

exercising a right not given by statute

but by the inherent allowance to choose.

see, that’s the art of creation

each individual with difference

and on that level – equal

in innocence.

guilt implied only by those above judgment

those who have proof of absolute truth

and I will say not even science is very much more than theoretical

but aesthetics are pleasing. unexplained. mysterious.

like favorite colors.

favorite contours.

so the direction of my gazes is, quite frankly, none of your business

specifically if you deal with laws and �infringements’

the fringe of society will always be here where you put it

whether you like it

holding in place the outline of your weak definitions

constraints and restrictions you man-made normality

you nurtured into nature

non-conformity is the frame around your masterpiece

and what’s truly genius

is the landscape

and the escape from textbook terminology

and the noise.

life and art

are the colors of skin and the contours of choice.

In the Streets

recently, with the attention from the random schoolgirl stalkers and the truly crazy girls,

every time we fuck i wonder if this is how they see me.

on top but way too bottom.

more skin undressed in a single frame than anyone else could account.

your seven and a half inches of what it means to be free..

seven and a half inches within me.
and god, do i get loud…

it’s so odd to think about.

i imagine them glimpsing us in that hot clammy wet moment.

can’t feel my toes or grip your hair any tighter.

can’t hear my drippy mucous thoughts

over a voicebox in my throat that switched channels.

can’t stop the tremble in my thighs or press our chests any deeper.

when all i can is come.

butch on the streets and femme in the sheets.

i don’t believe in that.

i don’t believe in gender.

i don’t believe in codes that formulate a system of authority.

they’re just roles we play in the dark.

i believe i cracked the passwords, beat the boundaries, and defeated the purposes we were expected to accept.

without question.

but i came.

and i asked.

who am i if not in some form some way someone i’d be assessed to be?

expression and identity are knit too close.

like my breaths and my gasps when your hand is down my pants.
when i look in the mirror i see what i want to.

what i want them to.

i see a dash of arrogance that means strength in the bulk of male muscle.

masculine terms that i want my chin to speak

before my words have their chance.

when i look in the mirror i furrow my brows.

i am defiance. i am real. i am man. – or boy,

because my dimple charms and jello smile and pissed-pants eyes reveal.

too much.

so i am not defiance. i am not man. that is not real.

and when i look in the mirror i furrow my brows to deny, defy,

a toddler

with cheeks too chubby to know the arch of man constructs…

architecture of the home, the rod, the rule.

the triangle was gold, not pink.

but I never followed the hint.

when i talk to myself, i’m a hundred and twelve percent boy.

albeit sensitive and introspective.

And i don’t know myself any other way.
the day i cut my hair off (it only took me seventeen years)

i stayed in front of the mirror for hours.

negotiating what i saw.

resolving who i had always been.

it was like staring at your twin, separated at birth,

and that internal reconciliation.

putting the parts together.

like always knowing there was someone out there who had stolen your identity and left you with someone else’s.

and then seeing your self walking down the street right across the street from you.

i don’t know myself any other way.

yet you know me that other way.

you know the way my jaw drops and locks, the way i bite my lip, the way my neck throws back.
i’m no actor.

i’m not the best liar.

i guess i’m versatile but you somehow lube up my dichotomies just right…

we’re faggots and toughguys and leather dykes and fruitcakes…

and god knows i love the sounds you make when you’re almost.. quite… there.

My Definition

my mother wants to define this

as if

sex came with

a gender clause.

this uniform skirt is control

exercised by culture

and laws that dictate

over external genitalia, wombs, female fetuses, and the space we�re allowed to exist

in

a norm of petite, polite, post-marital slave

and we carry our heels high

to be crippled

we acquire joy

from the vanity of requiring continuous assistance.

so my jeans will be worn, knowing

the price that accompanies�

this awareness that this world was born

from

a woman�s pain

this responsibility to react sensitively

when

taught his story and his terminology that recites fair game.

my god is my maker; his word is my sin

you are my judges, judge, judgment

qualified by manhood

raised, erected, waving like a wand

your command

but she, she is my conscience

and for that thrust, i will stand.

the truth is out there

a simple search, keywords, on the world wide web

take away politics, religion, ignorance and

add a dash of self-worth and

it will be found that the mystery is stellar

and it lies in here.

in these words, this supposed poetry

of language and languor

lies irreverence and love and its stolen midnight motion

if only in respite.

i was told by an artist that art empowers scientists

that laws are enacted by politicians and embellished

by poets

well i write and i paint, but not enough to make change.

canvas does not sound like the alarm, the crash

of three airplanes headed for history.

but we�ll go down on your daughter

before their husbands understand and

we�ll plan our revolution under conservative family tables

by holding hands and

we�ll respect their laws of nature, stare it down like fighting prey

while they turn away from this physics of gravitation

alike to and amore so than theirs, since the anatomy�s the same.

but i digress.

i�ve been inspired, and i�ve been told that this thought is a weapon and its ammunition

is the voice to reveal

it�s some gift of the gap, a trap, I appeal the decision

for you ration your rationalism, spread too thin to comment

but I realize

that guns serve best pointed at the ones holding

and the gap, well it�s a fucking ravine and i�m drowning in it.

having to sleep to a head in chorus and in cry

the alcohol helps it stop, temporarily pause, distill, dilute, comply

but most nights these days

i�m dry

and i�m dreaming

of better times, better places, more liquor in my drawer

but i continue to wake

to our current state and current current events and

the stench

of my un-recycled page and sweatshop-made pen.

and i mention them

because in every torn nation and through every impoverished people

the boys have it better than girls

who bear the brute of an already blunt butt.

and i�m not saying i�d rather none make do

i�m just questioning

the mentality that equates this equality.

and i�m no feminist. i�m barely feminine, in quotes.

but i do hope the first term did not stem from the latter

since that would render both words

unjustified to my vagina.

maybe perhaps that�s my soul agenda

to say the word real loud in public � vagina vagina vagina.

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