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The Poser

Written by Melissa Tsang on . Posted in Coming Out

Image from sxc/linder6580

I grew up in an affluent, privileged, Chinese family in Singapore, complete with enrichment classes and Sunday school. I loved Barbie and Pokémon with equal intensity, and I would try to fit in with the girls while having no qualms about hitting a boy. I often thought about death when I was a child, but I suppose I had most of it figured out – eternity was taken care of by faith, and I would try to be a clever girl, marry a boy who would think my fat body beautiful, never have children, and die happy.

By the time I was sixteen, the issue of sexuality was close to my mind; not that I doubted I was straight – I just could no longer find any emotional conviction in the biblical truth I grew up with, that alternatives to heterosexuality were neither natural nor morally acceptable. Some of my closest friends weren't straight and I would not accept that they were going to hell because they weren't sorry about their sexualities. I fell silent about that which I used to protest with a vengeance, because I feared damnation for challenging the authority of the bible. Yet the taste of that silence in my mouth was that of remorse, resentment and the deepest sense of shame.

In my own small ways, I was beginning to question the legitimacy of heterosexism, like when I challenged my mom to consider the hurtful implications of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, or when I spoke against the use of "gay" as a term of ridicule in class. I dare not say that I was an ally then, neither was I familiar with the LGBT community – but that was when I started to throw out my prejudice.

At the end of my junior year in high school, however, I made a most unusual observation – I, a hitherto straight girl, was attracted to my butch-identifying soccer teammate. For all the months I spent scouring Google, however, I found no answer that hit home, being unable to trace any "classic" signs. There were no childhood crushes on older girls, or lack of attraction to boys. Neither was I able to identify with any of the "butch", "femme" or "andro" (androgynous) labels, further frustrating my novice attempt to find my place in the world of lesbian attraction. I was therefore ashamed to take on the identity "gay", "bi", or "queer", because those were for the self-assured individuals who got detected on "gaydars". Not I – I was in question; I was a poser.

When one door closes, a closet door opens

Written by Pink Dot on . Posted in Coming Out


The feeling of falling into a deep pit is how Yiap Geok Khuan, 67, would describe her state-of-mind when she first received word that her daughter, Eileena Lee, 38, is gay.
Tears filled her eyes before she even heard the words. She had been in denial for years and her greatest fear was about to be confirmed – that the daughter she once dressed up in her own image – would turn out to be lesbian.


Passing Privilege

Written by alina on . Posted in Coming Out


I never truly understood what femme privilege was till the time I walked down the street with a butch-seeming friend and felt the looks change, became conscious of being different.


But I hadn’t changed at all, I declared to myself, shocked. I could have walked this path two days ago and not merited a second glance. The visibility actually came as a shock, which says a lot about how much I’ve been in the straight world lately.


The fact is, in this society it’s not hard to pass (as straight), especially when you’re happily single, with no fetching woman on your arm, and dress in fairly feminine attire. I probably could get by the average straight person’s gaydar without a second glance.


‘Saving Face’: the day i considered fake marriage

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Coming Out



I love Chinese New Year [CNY].
Every CNY, i would disappear among the crowds at Chinatown where the New Year bazaar takes place. How i love the hustle and bustle. A myriad of colors- red dashes everywhere and fruits of every kind. A gamut of goods- pastries, hair accessories, lucky charms and all. Away from the bazaar, the family would get ready with all things new. Two changes of clothes, a pair of new shoes and a bag are necessities for each member of the family. Spring cleaning beckons... the kitchen floor receives its most rigorous scrub of the year amidst squabbles about doing it right.

This year, i went home for 3 days. During the short stay, we went out for a Chinese movie ‘True Legend’ together... where i spent much of the 2 over hours shrieking [every time i think the protagonist was going to plummet to the ground from an enemy’s sword slash or iron fist punch], much to the annoyance of my little sister. The family outing was heart-warming, and a rare treat for a father who works seven days a week.

Outside of the immediate family is where a fresh set of challenges lies.


Review: No More Daddy’s Little Girl

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Coming Out

“No More Daddy’s Little Girl”- a book by Karen Lee.

Before i read Karen Lee’s book, i received plenty of� comments pertaining to it.
Most of them were negative, criticizing aspects from grammar and style of writing to content.

I bought the book anyway, complete with her autograph on it. You never know till you read it, i thought to myself. Besides, i believe in supporting the first Singaporean lesbian autobiography. In the same train of thought [to support local queer writings], i bought the Chinese publication “tong lei” by OC. I finished the book in a couple of days, snatching moments before bedtime and during dinnertime.

The first half of the book touched on her early crushes, with a heavy emphasis on her involvement in Girls’ Brigade. Parts of the book provided information in somewhat random chunks. Sometimes the pieces were too brief to comprehend in detail. A characteristic, i surmised, as a result of length constraint. After sharing childhood memories, the story segued into her stints in Australia, Sweden and eventually Canada.

The greatest criticism was probably on content. Someone commented that the book is screwed up because Karen implied that she is gay as a result of being molested in her childhood. Indeed, in her coming out email to her parents, the uncanny pairing of the coming out declaration with the molest incident hinted at perceived causality. The person went on to say that the book gives fundies ammunition to target the lesbian population: you are gay because you are screwed up in your childhood. It was also pointed out that the book reflects badly on romantic relationships in the community. You can imagine a fundie going “look at how many flings Karen had! This is evidence that lesbian relationships are unstable.”

“She’s probably a screwed up lesbian,” was the concluding remark.
Coupled with Karen’s continuous struggles with reconciling her faith and sexuality throughout the book, it’s easy to see why some do not find the book uplifting.

But there were little entertaining bits here and there that amused me greatly. Karen’s ego and narcissism had me guffawing. Her confidence exuded from the very pages. She declared her own leadership, discipline and attractiveness. The audacity of demanding for someone’s girlfriend was appalling and amusing at the same time. In retort to any reader’s immediate question “how can you do that? She’s attached!”, Karen’s justification was one of standing up for her affections.

The book has several ingredients for a grabbing piece: horrifying incidents [e.g., lesbian almost-stabbing drama], the agony of being at odds with God, love, fleeting attractions, sex, eventual familial acceptance and so on. It’s certainly not a boring piece. No More Daddy’s Little Girl sent me through a torrent of emotions, ranging from exasperation to amusement. I raised my eyebrows, rolled my eyes, laughed and melted. I felt like i was sitting down with an acquaintance over coffee, listening to her life stories. Somewhat conversational [which might explain the writing style/grammar/sentence structure].

As i put the book down, sweetness overflowing from the last chapter on familial acceptance, i mulled over the merits and demerits of the book. Yes, i agree the book does not help the current negative stereotypes of lesbian women in Singapore. Yes, it is sad that people still attribute homosexuality to some childhood mishap. And certainly, it is rather sobering that some people cannot reconcile their sexuality and faith. But the book is about Karen’s working paradigm of her sexuality, spirituality and the world. Some lesbian women do think in such and such a way.

I define an autobiography as a life story worth a read.

As an autobiography, i think No More Daddy’s Little Girl has delivered.


A short note from Karen:

“No More Daddy’s Little Girl” is an autobio written by Karen Lee. The book is available nationwide at most major bookstores such as Borders Whee Lock, Kinokuniya (Ngee Ann City & Bugis Junction), MPH (Novena, Robinson Road,Raffles City and CityLink mall), Select Books @ Tanglin Shopping Centre and Oohtique. Also 24 POPULAR bookstore branches. Do pick up a copy to support me! Thank you!

Editor’s Note: Please note that this review is the author’s personal opinion and does not reflect the official position of Sayoni in any way.

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