Event: Sayoni Summer Camp ‘09

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Sayoni Camp

Sayoni Summer Camp is a 3-day/2-nights camp specifically for queer women in or around Singapore. We will be having our first run on 1st-3rd May 2009.

We aim to provide a fun-filled and meaningful experience for all campers. Our goal is to promote self-development and growth, with a focus on encouraging campers’ self-exploration and understanding of their relationship with the world around them.

At SSC ‘09, expect to be transported to a beautiful beachside resort in Indonesia. Away from the bustle of city life, enjoy indoor and outdoor activities including workshops and water games. Challenge your body and engage your mind with a series of activities -- surrounded by a great bunch of queer women and Sayonites committed to your well-being.

For more information, please visit our website.

Sayoni Summer Camp: 3 Days Left to Sign up!

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Sayoni Camp


There are only 3 days left to register for Sayoni Summer Camp 2009! Prices start at only $270 inclusive of 2 way ferry tickets, 3D2N resort stay and all meals. If you are thinking of joining us this very special Labour Day weekend, please make sure that you sign up now!

Only 8 places left, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity for a fun-filled and meaningful vacation.

Visit www.sayoni.com/ssc09 and register immediately!

AWARE EOGM: An Account and Commentary

Written by Indu on . Posted in Events

Most of the bloggosphere has been buzzing with the happenings of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) on 2nd May. The run up to the meeting was fraught with drama, suspense and old-fashioned politicking. The stakes were high for the veterans – the 24-year old organisation they had been with for years (and in some cases, since its founding) was in danger of being lost to a group of new faces who did not exactly seem to have women’s welfare in mind. (See here and here for a review of the events after the power-grab).

The venue had been changed twice – at first from Toa Payoh Auditorium to Expo, then, upon the instigation of the police (who was concerned with law and order issues given a large-scale Christian seminar would be going on next door), to Suntec. The media were ready with cameras and microphones, and when Saturday dawned bright and early upon Suntec, the stage was more than set.

I arrived at 10.45 am, as the registration was set to start at 12 pm (and the meeting was set to start at 2pm). Clearly I was not the only one with the bright idea of arriving early – the 4th floor was already full of supporters on both sides: red-shirted men and women on the side of the new exco, and white-shirted volunteers on the side of the new exco. When I arrived, taking in my outlaw appearance (ie, not being a chinese christian), 3 women tried to stop me from going up the escalator to the 4th floor, saying registration didn’t start until 12, and that the white t-shirted people weren’t part of their team. I brushed them aside and went up anyway.

After waiting an extraordinarily long time in the queue (thank god for reading materials I brought along), during which the white-shirts distributed food, flowers pamphlets and advice, and passing a security check, I finally entered the hall and sat myself down for what was going to be a long wait.

Little did I know the said long wait was going to be for the next 9 hours until the end of the EGM. In between reading, I noticed that there were two police-men guarding Thio Su Mien, and that an extraordinarily old woman on canes (literally) was walking up the aisle to the VIP seats, whom I later learned was Mrs David Marshall, coming to support the old guard.

The meeting started really late, at 2.40pm, where they exco finally presented themselves. The second Josie Lau took the mic and started speaking, the previously demure congregration burst into jeers and shouts.

And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the EOGM. If anyone ever thought Singaporeans were quiet docile lambs, all such notions would have been dispelled within seconds of being in that hall.

The drama continued for the next 7 hours – for a full transcript of proceedings, see here. The highlight of the proceedings were threefold: when the new exco admitted that they had spent 90k SGD to date, in prepping for the EGM (including the venue), when Thio Su Mien stood up and declared that she was qualified to be a feminist mentor because she was mentioned on an obscure book AWARE published, on page 73, and when the new exco was voted out 1414:761 through a no-confidence motion.

Now, having had a few days to digest this historic win and event, and having read distinguished commentaries upon it (here and here), there are a few things I would like to highlight.

Firstly, the behaviour of the exco in spending nearly 90 000 dollars since the time they took office a few weeks ago, itself makes them entirely unsuitable for running AWARE. There were so many ways to do it for cheaper – such as employing volunteers to scrutineer (and make a buddy system to cross-check against biasness), engaging pro bono counsel instead of running to one of the most expensive law firms in Singapore and perhaps not installing CCTVs and changing the locks barely after they took over. Their attitude is one of that of a mega-church with deep pockets, or a corporate entity, not of a voluntary organisation. Whatever else one can say about their stealthy maneavours and less-than-noble intentions, if one is to judge them by their performance in office for a no-confidence motion, this would have been the clincher.

Secondly – just because you are legally in power, does not mean you have the authority to lead, especially when you have had no experience, the only reason you are voted in is because you rallied people to sign up and vote for you, and your means were underhanded and shady. Please show us some respect, and do not keep insisting that this was not planned – it most obviously was, and the longer you repeat that story, the more credibility you lose. I asked a question at the EGM which was not answered: what if I decided that Focus on the Family (FOTF) was losing its pro-family focus and becoming overly concerned with promoting homphobia? What if I decided that, because of this, I was going to appoint myself a Family Values mentor, email my friends and family and simply take over FOTF one day? It might be entirely legitimate, but does this new exco have any moral or even practical authority to lead FOTF? More importantly, is what I did right?

Thirdly, I was there, and I can testify that the crowd was indeed loud and sometimes overpowering. But contrary to what the other side has said about the old guard supporters being bullies and hooligans, I feel this was a result of passion and deep belief.  Voices were raised, but no one was harmed, or even threatened to be harmed. Emotions spilled over, but that is approximate response to what happens when one takes over an organisation by stealth and under-handed means. No one stopped the other side from speaking up – they were entirely free to make their opinions, and when they did, I observed that they made no sense (even to an objective listener). The other side had all the opportunities to speak, but they did not.  I personally feel many of the supporters of the new exco were only there to vote, not speak – by the very fact that the most of the new exco supporters left shortly after the voting process. Even I cannot help preserve the freedom of speech for someone who does not want to make their opinions known.

Fourthly, the opposition camp has painted this as a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue. It is anything but – it is the new guard who declared their motivating factor to take over AWARE was because they felt AWARE was too pro-gay. It still is NOT a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue – it is an issue of mutual respect, of living in harmony with different points of view and faiths. It is an issue of protecting the secular principles this country is built upon, by making sure one religious group does not overstep its boundaries or amass so much power as to intimidate minorities.

Fifthly, going into the hall, knowing this is not a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue, I was pleasantly surprised that there were plenty of people who spoke up for the acceptance and inclusion of queer people – women and men of all ages, backgrounds, religions and races. The message the majority sent out is that inclusiveness is not an empty word, and it means what it means. And really, for a bunch of educated women, especially Thio Su Mien – they seemed unable to tell the linguistic difference between tolerance, acceptance and promotion. The dictionary is there, use it. When you do learn the meaning, come back and tell me with a straight face that being accepting gay people for who they are, is exactly the same as telling people to be gay.

It must be said in conclusion that this EOGM was a reaffirmation, and a heart-warming sign that there is progress being made on the forefront of inclusiveness. It however, sadly highlights the existence of certain fundamentalist conservative groups who do not understand this concept and will do anything, anything to stop it from happening, even though it really has nothing to do with them.

Christians are not the enemy, neither do we consider them to be. We are not your enemy either. I take this opportunity to make a plea not to let things go that way, to not go the way America has gone in terms of the culture war – there are far far more important things in the world to think about, to work on. There are literally starving children in Africa, and I think your money, your effort, all the passion you have towards changing the world, can be redirected to causes much much bigger than trying to stop two consenting adults from loving each other.

And on that note, this is me hoping the best for the future!

Sayoni Summer Camp 2009: An Insider’s Account

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Sayoni Camp

This article is written by a guest writer, Sharon.

Sayoni Summer Camp 2009

It took wagonloads of faith to know nothing about the camp and yet sign up for it. I had no idea where we were headed to (friends asked, 'how would we know where to extradite your body from then, be it if you drown during water activities or if you collapse from being at a lesbian camp.' My friends equate lesbian camp to sex orgy thingy.), what was the exact itinerary (gawd, please don't let them make us play school-ish telematch games nor do the 'oh this is how much potential you have in you, however please do feel real bad about yourself so you'd move your lazy ass' seminars), or who are the other 45 campers (45?! I barely want to get to know one new person per year in my personal life).

 

So why did I do it? Because it is the first ever camp for queer women after all. The advert did say 'series of meaningful and exciting activities, and make connections with others in an ideal exclusive location'. Which queer woman wouldn't want to make connections with others... in a series (!), in a meaningful and exciting manner (!), and at an ideal exclusive location (!!). No wonder places filled up quickly….

 

 

The campers came from all walks of life, across an age range of 18-40s (Editor’s note: oldest person present was close to 50). There were bankers, students, engineers, bummers, researchers, test-tube washers (me), consultants and etc. Some previously knew about Sayoni, others didn't. Several came from beyond Singapore, a few came from way beyond. It was truly a diverse group, but very quickly that didn't matter. Like in the wild waterpolo matches, all that mattered was 'we are team, let's play!'. This spirit of 'team' spilled over to the workshops, late-night symposiums1 and stolen-moment gatherings.

 

The workshops were about self-development and growth, with a focus on encouraging self-exploration and understanding of our relationship with the world around us. In other words, the workshops were about 'who am I', 'who am I in relationships' and 'who am I in the community'. Messages from the workshops were delivered in various ways -- in detailed textual descriptions on screen, in patient comprehensive explanations by the speakers, in visually stunning pictures, videos and demonstrations, in lively open discussions from the audience, and in personal sharing of stories and opinions in small group discussions. Contrary to my expectation of the 2 to 3 hour-long workshops, I was never bored. Furthermore, I surprised myself that from each workshop, there was stuff for me to bring home to think a little more about. Even the more mature ones among us mentioned that they benefited from the workshops. Seems like it was 'milk' enough for the young 'uns and 'meat' enough for the toughies.

 

As quickly as 'team' surfaced from the diversity, the spirit of 'family' soon emerged by the 2nd day of the camp. You could say we played our way into each other's hearts. Waterpolo matches, meal times, BBQ dinner, late-night symposiums and even on the ferry back, these were all dear moments of playful fun, hearty laughter, good conversations, and explicit sharings, We found ourselves to be different yet so similar in our struggles, challenges, discrimination, hopes and dreams.

 

Just a word here about the camp conditions. I believe I echo the sentiments of many campers when I say it was good. The rooms were big and spacious, each one had a balcony with a view, the sheets were comfy and clean, toilets were clean and functioning properly, and even had toilet paper and paper towels all the time. (Yes, I am quite the fussy traveller.) Meals were buffet-style with at least 2 types of 'carbo' (rice, bread, noodles, or pasta), 3 kinds of meat, vegetables, a soup, a long dessert table, and the ever-essential coffee and tea. The resort was a good choice to have the camp. It had a big beautiful pool, a private dining area for all of us, a private beach, and an outdoor bar & grill place by the beach with a good sound system and even a place to dance. Schedule-wise, we had enough time for fun and workshops. There was also free time where we could choose to laze at the hotel or go down to town for shopping and a 2-hour massage. The organisers were also flexible in accommodating our request for more pool time in the sun. I was also impressed that it was relatively fast and painless from the point of meet-up and registration, getting our boarding passes, onto the ferry and 3-min bus transfer, to checking-in to our rooms.

 

In my business organisation, we are extremely customer-oriented. At the end of million-dollar projects, we give our clients a customer satisfaction survey to fill up and mail anonymously to our head office. On the survey form, clients can rate us on the scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is 'disappointed', 2 is 'does not meet expectations', 3 is 'meets my expectations', 4 is 'beyond my expectations' and 5 is 'delighted'.

This camper is delighted.

 

 

Notes

1. Symposium – (in ancient Greece and Rome) a convivial meeting, usually following a dinner, for drinking and intellectual conversation.

PLU: Indignation 2009!

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events


From PLU

Indignation is the LGBT Pride season in Singapore, reaffirming our participation in the intellectual and cultural life of this country, reminding all that we are as much a part of Singapore as anyone else. The organisers are motivated by a belief that however difficult, progress is possible. We are not passive victims of ignorance and prejudice in an unchanging landscape. We are active citizens playing our part in making Singapore a better place.

The first season was in 2005. This year, 2009, will be our fifth annual season.

Each event is separately organised by by different people, who as a gesture of solidarity, are contributing their events to the joint calendar.

It is never easy organising gay-related events in Singapore. Many kinds of events require licences from various government departments, which tend to react with suspicion towards anything that is gay-themed. Even when licences are given, past experience has shown that intimidatory tactics from the police can still be expected.

Outdoor events such as parades, a common feature of pride festivals in other countries, are virtually impossible since the authorities have a habit of refusing to issue licences.

Funding is another area affected by the political climate; hence the organisers are particularly grateful to those who have bravely stepped forward with sponsorships.

Join us this August 2009 in our annual celebration of Pride. Support our fundraising events that make it all possible.

Click here for the calendar.

Sayoni is an active supporter of Indignation. Look forward to our events on the 22nd August and 29th August!

Launch: Coming Out Guide

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

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.

Indignation 09: Are We There Yet?

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time: 7:45pm – 10:30pm
Location: 72-13 (View Map)

RSVP on Facebook.

The AWARE saga and proposed Penal Code amendments provoked discussion about gender, sexuality and equality. Where were queer women in the discussions? What is our agenda and how should we represent ourselves?

Findings from Sayoni’s bi-ennial national survey of queer women in Singapore are presented and a panel of eminent queer women start the discussion.

Sayoni’s annual Indignation forum is a much-anticipated highlight of the queer woman’s calendar and this year is no different. All are welcome. You wouldn’t want to miss this.

Twittereport: “Are We There Yet?”

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Yesterday Sayoni organised a forum titled “Are We There Yet?” for Indignation. For those who could not make it, the event was covered live on our twitter. We reproduce the report here for you. We also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who made this event possible – photo/videographers, ushers, receptionists, logistics, voluntweers (ie the volunteer tweeters), and just anyone who helped out.

Time

Update

Sat Aug 22 19:32:54

Things are being set up for “Are We There
Yet”. This event is going to be reported live on twitter! #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:40:40

People are filing into the room rapidly #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:54:24

We haven’t started yet, but the crowd is 60 people
and counting! There look to be more coming. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:00:55

The panellists are taking their seats. We are about
to start “Are we there yet?” Kelly is welcoming everyone to the
Sayoni forum. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:03:07

The speakers are Alexandra Serrenti, Raqvind, Hui
Yee, Swee Jean, and Jean. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:04:32

Kelly: The first issue for the night is about the
AWARE saga. Many queer women voted against the new exco and rallied others.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:06:44

Alex is speaking on her concerns with the ex-new
exco. It only began an issue on sexuality later, after TSM appeared. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:02

Alex: Would like to thank TSM for getting her
involved in the community again. We as queer women need to speak up for
ourselves #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:52

Would like to encourage everyone to think abt their role
as gay people and their involvement in the community. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:10:01

Someone from the floor is saying that she identifies
as a woman first and then as a lesbian, therefore wld speak up #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:05

Jean: First impression was familiar names in AWARE
from letter-writing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:51

Raqvind: The EGM was important in bringing up the
gay issue, in everyday life as well. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:14:30

Kelly has changed to a new PPT slide. New Exco’s
stand vs Old Guard.CSE,SpiderLilies/Old Guard included queer women direct
svcs etc #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:15:53

Floor: AWARE is neutral, simply tries to include all
aspects of ‘woman’. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:16:37

Kelly: Have your expectations shifted after the EGM?
Several hands raised.#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:17:24

Hui Yee: More about people, not just gay people, in
Singapore making their voices heard. AWARE not explicitly gay-friendly. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:18:33

Swee Jean (SJ): Should not downplay it; there were
in fact many gay women in grp, played a significant part in the reaction
& votes #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:19:29

SJ: Standing up for self as lesbian and as women. Deeply
disturbed that grp of unknowns wld do this. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:21

Jean (JC): How many were here at Constance Singam’s
talk? (Many hands raised) angry crowd of gay women etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:34

About 70 people in the room, including the speakers.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:23:22

Floor: Question abt whether it is a problem to
conflate sexuality and women’s issues #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:24:46

Floor: Abortion is never a lesbian issue? Sorry, but
we are a subgroup within women. There are still lesbians who are dealg
w/issue #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:25:26

Kelly (KT): In Constance’s talk, she felt that Aware
was doing enough by includg queer women. Not identity-based advocacy #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:26:03

KT: …but issues-based advocacy. Don’t queer women
have it pretty good already? some people ask. Will introduce the survey 2008
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:28:07

KT: … also doing a report related to CEDAW. Survey
findgs: (1) Education. Women experience attraction mostly in teenage yrs
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:29:45

KT: How did you relate to that (i.e. lesbianism
excluded from official sex education) in growing yrs? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:31:07

JC: No role models in youth-seen as deviance. Coping
w/shame,religion. Had wished for female role models. Instead, she had Alex Au
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:32:32

JC: Constance’s book abt history of women in Sg, did
not mention queer women. Does not blame her… Cannot wait for pple to do
this #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:33:35

Alex Au: First met her in Sept 1997 (around there),
when he was invited to give a talk at Substation. Constance was present.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:34:11

AA: …talk on basic sexual orientation. After the
talk, she approached him and said she didn’t know who to ask abt these
things. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:35:46

SJ: Comments on CSE – heartened to hear abt CSE,
difficult to hear that it has been withdrawn. Wld hv been wonderful in sec
sch. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:36:54

SJ: … to have been treated normally at that age if
u talked to a teacher/dressed tomboyishly. Hope tt it’ll become more
inclusive #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:39:00

HY: Had a qn once abt how 2 women have sex. We shld
forgive them for not knowing. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:40:36

HY: At Women’s Night, we focus on learning fr each
other. Focus on sharing. Be brave enough to share that bit of us. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:20

Floor: Heard a talk once where it was said that it
was immoral & unnatural.

#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:40

Floor: Tried to take a neutral stand in health edn.
Saddened for young pple in Sg. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:11

Floor: As someone who’s bisexual, told mother she
was attracted 2 women, was told it was a phase. At 22 realised cld not be
phase #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:30

Floor: …impt to teach women how to identify if the
attraction is real #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:54

Floor: Heterosexuals have support grps while gay
people do not. She got to know Sayoni by chance on FB. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:45:31

AA: (desperately needs to respond) The problem of knowing
when puppy love is phase or the real thing. But why is that impt? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:20

AA: …so what if it is a phase? Trying to
distinguish btw phasic love and non-phasic love (laughter)… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:43

AA: …it means that if it is a phase, we will get
told it can’t be real & we need to change! So what if it is a phase?
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:05

Floor: They say it is a phase because no one wants
their kids to be gay! Even in
countries where gay rights r advanced, same prob #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:39

Floor: …Long way to go. Shld be positive and say
it’s okay. Not the most impt thing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:49:34

AA: Why do we talk down experimentation? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:50:37

Floor: People can’t accept it now, need to push
people slowly along. We’re not there yet. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:51:39

KT: Topic (2) Identity and Media Representation.
Respondents thought sexuality was most impt aspect of identity, followed by gender
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:52:38

[Slide: fines and censorship by MDA for portrayal of
same-sex activity or rships as normal] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:53:26

Alex (AS): Within any self, there are multiple
identities. At some time, diff identities come to the fore due to
circumstances. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:56:09

AS: Impt we don’t lose sight of multiple
id–multiple racial id was similar to being gay, developd rsources fr being
racially mixed #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:04

AS: Many people have never seen a gay relationship.
Would be gd for more people to know #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:42

JC: Karen has just published an autobiography about
her life #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:00:00

KT: Maybe we can start by asking broadcasters to
stop censorship. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:02:05

Floor: Normal to have two mummies in certain parts.
Can’t censor whole world. I see
an earthquake buildg. At what pt will Sg stop? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:04:28

SJ: Mediacorp has limitations, limited budgets. Hard
to say when it will stop, but there are many more channels now. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:05:32

SJ: Just boycott any media outlets that seem
homophobic. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:06:26

[Slide: Workplace: 96% perceive some amt of
discrimination at work. Lack of recourse in event of discr. Only MNCs.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:07:30

Floor: Reveals to interviewer that she is gay. Your own
perception becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Depends on yr own ability.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:15

Floor: Can bring it up to MOM #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:30

KT: No dispute mechanism here #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:02

Floor: Over $1500, not covered by Employment Act
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:32

[Slide: 38% in monogamous rship, 10% dating, 44%
single] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:10:17

KT: How many of you would want to get married?
[About 50% raises hands.]

Sat Aug 22 21:12:12

[Slide: Marriage privileges -- Right to share family
name, property ownership. HDB subsidy. Medical rights, next of kin rights.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:14:39

[Slide: Employment benefits. Spousal or family violence.
Divorce or death of spouse. Travel. Parenting and adoption. Income tax.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:15:41

[Slide: Worrying signs from survey. Almost 1 in 4
had income < $20 000] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:16:08

KT: What is to be done? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:17:41

Raqvind (RK): The more you normalise it, the less
fearful they are. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:01

HY: Don’t be limited by yr imagination 2 wat exists presently.
Many types feminism out there. Only 1 feminist org, can form more. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:31

Floor: Form sexual minorities org? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:21:57

HY: Find it within yourself to start new movements,
causes. New feminist orgs don’t even hv to be formerly affliated w/AWARE
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:24:22

Floor: Been with AWARE 4 many years. Never felt
discriminated against. EGM brought out +ve things. Totally for forming new
grps #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:25:58

Floor: …No real conflict between AWARE and
lesbians. Was amazed by EGM, J and K. Act of doing somethg is itself
empowering. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:26:52

Floor: …Many new women have come forward.
Sometimes more strategic to form a separate grp. Keep EGM spirit alive.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:29:10

AA: Once every 10 years, government sets censorship
guidelines. Censorship Review Committee has been set up. Media rep impt.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:30:32

Floor: Started 1st gay org in India. They never
thought change wld happen. July 2nd, verdict validated hard work 4 past 15
yrs. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:31:41

Floor: Stem cell technology — tech will become
mainstream. Once gay pple can reproduce, it becomes normative. Use economy,
etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:04

AS: One other type of censorship we don’t normally
talk abt–shld we tell our colleagues, parents? Diff when someone u know…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:47

AS: …tells you. Not little perverts who are
sexually broken, diff in a fundamental way. Esp in Sg. “Conservative
Asian society”. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:07

AS: …need to show that homosexuality is at least
as much a part of our conservative Asian society #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:29

KT: Coming out had single largest impact on whether
they wld agree to same sex marriage. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:37:24

Floor: Visibility, period. Don’t hv to join grps for
that. Be visible as individuals. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:11

SJ: In answering qn what’s next, need 2 look at qn on diff lvls. Grassroots
lvl can’t be emphasised enough, comes bk 2 comng out. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:37

SJ: need to work on every front. All need to take more
resp. Participate in something you believe in. As simple as that. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:41:44

Floor:
One thing gay pple shld always rem. Be very gd in what you do. Work v
hard, be the boss if yr boss discriminates against u. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:42:48

Floor: …have to work on financial side. Coming
out, hv to take one more step. Don’t forget the burden u place on parents…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:43:15

Floor: …when coming out to them. Work with
parents. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:44:39

AS: Other forms of coming out. Not event but
process. Sometimes took chances on cming out to ppl where they were
distraught… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:20

AS: …slow consistent work.Extending the
hospitality of our rship to these people as well. Act of resp to the people u
come out to #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:32

AS: …take a chance on the hard cases. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:48:28

Floor: Very important to show people that we are out
there. When we forge ahead, we have to leave some history behind, next gen.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:54:45

New youth grp for gay teens! Between ages of 16 and
21 — Young Out Here. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:29

Sayoni will be conducting another event on 29th Aug.
United We Fall, Divided We Stand.

Common grd between gay men and women? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:51

KT is thanking the panellists. Thank you for
reading! #indigsg

Indignation: United We Fall, Divided We Stand

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Date: Saturday, August 29, 2009
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: 72-13 Theatreworks, Muhamad Sultan Road.

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LGBTQ � an umbrella term that seemingly unites us, in our diversity. We automatically assume that our non-heterosexuality means we are one community, with common goals and a common space. But are we really? Can men and women really work together in the gay rights movement? Are our differences too great, or are our common goals sufficient to keep us united?

A panel of men and women experienced in working with the community take on this question in a debate format, exploring the questions from different angles and perspectives. Expect a night where we confront the dust bunnies under our carpet, and hopefully emerge with a better understanding of where we can head.

Review: Are We There Yet?

Written by nei on . Posted in Events

I attended a Sayoni forum last Saturday entitled “Are We There Yet?”*

The forum covered the many inequalities that queer women suffer in comparison to heterosexuals, with reference to the 2008 Sayoni Survey Report. The AWARE saga was mentioned fairly frequently and prompted many from the floor to speak up to buttress or disagree with the panellists’ ideas. There were words of encouragement, a discussion on what action we can and should take, the injunction to come out as gay; just to mention some issues that struck me most. The floor was very opinionated and passionate, with not a few male voices, including Alex Au’s.

At one juncture, there was a split between the pragmatic and the idealistic approach to gay activism (using the latter term in a broad sense). Someone opined that we need to teach teenagers how to differentiate real feelings of attraction from puppy love; that is, how to tell that her same-sex attraction is just a phase or not. Alex Au disagreed, saying that we should not need to discriminate in the first place, that there should be nothing wrong with experimentation. Another member of the floor argued that we need to be realistic about this.

After the forum, some of us got together. In the conversation that ensued, I had a strong sense of the difficulties that we face in our everyday lives. I think that each one of us, if we really go out and about, getting in touch with ground sentiment, are going to meet with a lot of resistance. That resistance is going to be hurtful. The environment we are in isn’t very kind or forgiving. (I believe that many will beg to differ on this point, and yes, it is relative.)

However, the impact others can have really depends on the individual’s tolerance level, and, secondarily, how we choose to react to an action. I’m not saying I need to be able to take abuse. The way sensitivity works, if we understand the root causes of an emotion and are able to step back sufficiently from our trapped, subjective selves and have an underlying source of security, I think we can achieve a certain amount of freedom from the worst of hurts.

I think we need to be clear of where we stand, that it is perfectly okay to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered: anything but heterosexual and cisgendered. Sure, the science is fuzzy, the religious texts are difficult, and most of the time, there is very little certainty. But that’s okay. We are not meant to understand life thoroughly and pin it down to basic principles. Science, too, cannot illuminate everything. We need to build rafts for ourselves and one another and create that connectedness and rationality.

Frankly, I may just be building bunkers against assaults or trying to erect a bridge in my head between the different approaches to advancement of the cause. In truth, different ways of regarding the topic are necessary and even fundamental to any kind of change, either top-down or bottom-up.

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