News and Opinions

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.

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.

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.

Sayoni Queer Women Survey 2008 Report (Singapore)

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements


Sayoni proudly presents Sayoni Queer Women Survey 2008 Report (Singapore) – administered on lesbian, queer, bisexual and transgendered women living in Singapore.



1.To gain some perspective on the actual needs of queer women, and what we can do about them

2.To provide free and accessible information to researchers, and act as a starting point for further research into the field

3.To ameliorate the dire lack of information on queer women in Singapore. Currently, there is no proper understanding of how the women�s queer community functions, other than biased and disjointed personal views.

The survey is broken down into five main aspects. Questions in each category are stream-lined and standardised for easy answering, by presenting most of the questions as rating questions where possible.

1. Introduction

General background.

2. Family, Friends and Work

Questions on how out the respondent is in their various social circles, how this group has reacted to the information, and the respondent�s intention to come out to that particular group.

3. Personal

Questions on a personal level relating to sexual orientation. Probes how the respondents come to realise their sexuality, different aspects of personal identity, and how their sexuality has affected them. Also includes information on relationships of respondents.

4. Financial

Questions to ascertain the financial status of queer women as a community – on income, occupation and industry, housing and car ownership.

5. Feedback on Sayoni and the community

Take note that the answers to these questions with the exception of two, are not presented in this report as they are meant for internal feedback.

This survey was not carried out with a null hypothesis in mind, and much of the information contained in this report is� processed descriptive statistics. Where possible, averages and trends have been pre-computed, and presented along with a broad analysis of the data. This� year, the data is presented in a much more visual format, as opposed to raw numbers in the
pilot run of 2006.

In the report of 2006, the data was broken down across Age, Ethnicity and Religion, as it is believed that these three different aspects affect the average queer woman in her views and social situation with respect to her sexuality. This year, due to the significant changes in methodology and presentation, we have decided to omit the comparison by Ethnicity and� Religion, as the representation for minority ethnic groups is not high enough to allow accurate comparisons.

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.


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


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


a woman�s pain

this responsibility to react sensitively


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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