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L3 Forum: Review

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Events

Original article:

When do queer women realize that they are queer? How do they come out to the people around them? What do they think of long-term lesbian relationships? How are they prepared to deal with issues that come with aging?

Here are some of the questions addressed by four queer women from different generations, during the L3: Loving, Leaving and Living forum held on 5th Aug. The live forum was organized by, the community for Asian queer women, as an Indignation 2006 event. The forum attracted an impressive turn-out of 105 audiences, mostly women, but including straight and gay men as well.

The speakers were chosen from different age groups: Elsa represented the early teens; Anj represented the early twenties; Jean represented the early thirties and Meiling represented the forties. The contrast in perspectives was shown through a series of questions, a spectrum of concerns pertaining to the lesbian community, discharged by a feisty emcee, Kelly.

The general atmosphere of the forum was light-hearted, with laughter bursting within the audience from time to time, because of the witty comments from the panelists. However, the discussion was nowhere near frivolous. The panelists shared their life stories and perspectives with such spontaneity and sincerity, which was indeed commendable.

The coming out experience of the panelists was all different in one way or another, painting a stark contrast of the social context they lived in. The younger panelists, Elsa and Anj are out to their families, and coming out was not a continuous internal struggle for them, as compared to their senior counterparts. Jean mentioned how she got her queer education in clubs because there was hardly any source of information in the past, before the internet was common and accessible. She even attempted to ask the audience who had heard of those clubs, and obtained no response, much to the amusement of all. Meiling spoke with incredible forthrightness, when she told the audience her struggles over the years and what it took for her to come out to herself.

Despite that society has come a long way and has made much progress over the years, coming out is still not a bed of roses for the younger generation. Elsa narrated her stories of coming out to friends who are fundamentalist Christians, and the pain she endured when she was asked to change her orientation, by the very people she cares for. The way she narrated her story was hilarious, and the audience erupted in laughter at certain points of time. However I felt a lump in my throat as I watched the bubbly teenager share her traumatizing experiences. It was heart-wrenching to see how much a typical gay/ lesbian youth has to go through in Singapore.

The panelists also discussed the various issues in the community, such as the use of labels in identity, the butch-femme binary, homophobia, relationships, growing old together etc. Certain highlights consist of the following: An unanimous definition of cheating- nothing beyond the mental space. Varying degrees of being out, proud and loud- Notably, Elsa and Jean believed in being out in every aspect of their lives and Anj shared about the initial maelstrom in the family before acceptance. Meiling emphasized that aging gracefully means that one should start financial planning as soon as possible.

It was refreshing to hear the different viewpoints of the women, and how dialogues, exchanges and consensus reign despite the differences. The differences also served to illuminate how much progress we have seen over the years.

During the question and answer session, the audience was a little apprehensive at first but warmed up in no time. They shared their viewpoints on �internalized homophobia�, which took on a more macro edge: fear of minority groups within the queer community. In a particular question, �What are we fighting for, when people who accept you will nonetheless see you as not normal?� the speakers were quick to point out that if past activists were non-existent, the forum would not have been possible.

The responses from the audience were so effervescent; the emcee even had to request that they might continue the discussions after the forum has ended.

In their closing speech, the panelists gave their heartfelt wishes for the community. From helping gay and lesbian youths to urging people to stay connected with their extended families, I could sense their dedication and passion for the community.

Last but not least, the organization of the entire forum was laudable as well. I certainly appreciated that the organizers managed to set up a public address sound system, so that the panelists� speech could be clearly heard from the back of the room. This was extremely helpful, given the highly echoing characteristic of the big and high-ceiling room. Intricate details such as brochures, posters and refreshments all highlighted the resourcefulness of the organizing team.

All in all, the session ended on a positive note, inducing hope in dykes who were present. It represents a tiny but significant step towards greater exposure for and understanding from the general public. Voices were heard, issues were discussed, friendships were reinforced, and queer women of all ages came together to show that we stand as one. That is Indignation for you.

Cheers for more.

Coming up soon: Audio recordings of the forum.

SQ21 Launch – Borders

Written by snorkeem on . Posted in Events

The guys and girls from Singapore’s first coming out book, “SQ21 – Singapore Queers in the 21st Century” ( will be doing a launch at Borders this coming Saturday afternoon.

They will be sharing and reading some of their stories. As you can imagine this is going to be pretty public and is a courageous step for them. So please do come and support them – it will mean a lot to them. One of the people reading that afternoon will be Hoon Eng who is a mother of two gay sons – so if you know any family or friends who need to hear her story do bring them along.

The books will definitely be available for sale at Borders. The details of the launch are:

Date: 02/09/2006
Time: 2pm
Venue: Front of Store, Borders

PPC’s Event in August: Massage Workshop for Couples, Friends and Family Members!

Written by snorkeem on . Posted in Announcements

Pelangi Pride Centre’s Event in August:
Massage Workshop for Couples, Friends and Family Members!
Exclusively at PPC, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-01
19 August 2006, 4-8pm

Your Facilitators: Sheung and Eileena

Massage is a wonderful way to bond with your loved ones. Couples, friends, and family members all benefit from the gift of touch! Learn the proper skills to give a good and safe massage and get the opportunity to nurture each other and alleviate complaints of pain.

During the session, part of the workshop will be spent learning massage techniques whilst the other will be spent receiving a massage! The workshop will also include a time for refreshments as well as a time to mingle or perhaps a chance to fine-tune your newly learnt skills!

Cost per person: $6 (which includes 2 soft drinks and finger food).
To sign up, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to RSVP with your name, contact number, the name/s of your guests.
[contact @ pelangipridecentre dot org]

Let’s talk about transsexuals…

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Events

In Chinese conversations, you can sometimes hear the phrase, “neither male nor female” in describing a transgender. It is used more commonly on male-to-female transgender persons (MtF). Many times, this was uttered in a derogatory manner, hinting at inadequacy. Without doubt, such an attitude arose from ignorance of the distinction between biological sex and gender.

Frequently these are conflated with sexual preference to form a rigid entity. This is erroneous. There are MtFs who are lesbians i.e. biologically males who feel like women and prefer women as partners. There are also asexual MtFs. These may come across as bizarre to some. However, the gender you like does not determine what gender you feel like.

The transgender community has been stereotyped and marginalized by both the general public as well as the queer community. It was believed that being queer is tantamount to possessing a decent grasp of all things queer. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge is no respecter of persons. The transgender forum, which took place during the first week of IndigNation elucidated the fact that one’s inherent gender cannot be altered. Contrary to popular belief, transgender persons did not choose their gender- they were born with it. That is, if you feel like a woman, you will continue to feel like one in years to come.

An MtF on the forum previously lived as the socially assigned gender (accorded to her based on her biological sex) in her attempt to live according to conventions. This was possible for her because of her fluid sexuality (sexual orientation). For other MtFs who do not have the luxury of such “partner choice”, many grappled with sexuality issues, with doubts of being gay. This happens as they face the consequences of going against the public grain of gender and sex concurrently.

Media depictions of the transgender community are extremely skewed representations. Sensational news sell and is given priority coverage. Coming the mystique of the transgender community and the salacious nature of the sex trade, this potent concoction is bound to horrify, riding on unfamiliarity and a lofty, yet unsubstantiated moral ground. Transgender sex workers have their own reasons for being there. Just as we would not label heterosexuals as perverts based on sex workers in Geylang, we should also refrain from labeling the entire transgender community as propagating a fetish. Indeed, numerous successful transgender persons go into stealth- they are not easily distinguished as transgendered because they blend into the mainstream community. Many of these successful TGs are highly educated and high-flyers in their respectable field of work. Thus, the stereotype of transgender folks falls flat in these instances.

The pains of the costly transition process it not something that the average person from the street can fathom. We salute our valorous sisters. May increased education about this community to the public prompt social understanding, acceptance and a fine appreciation of the transgender world!

Visit: a website in Singapore for the transgender community.

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