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Sayoni…A new beginning

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Nearly 10 years ago while I was searching for my community I sat in front of the computer chatting via irc with a bunch of new-found friends happy with the compatriot ship that was unavailable for LGBT people in an oppressive environment.� Those were the days when the internet was fast becoming a haven for people like us desperately seeking a way out of the closet.� We conversed in a room named #lesbiancafe that has since closed down.

I will never forget this particular conversation we had with one another about how the room #lesbiancafe is meant for lesbians, a safe place for the queer ladies.� One of our friends, a transgender FTM, asked us if she will still be welcomed after her surgery which will see her transition not only physically but legally into a man. We were a little stumped, not quite sure where to place the rules on our dear friend who is going to be outside the boundary markers one day.

We were very young then but we knew in our hearts that she was our friend and she must be embraced and welcomed anyway.� Rules, regulations, fairness and thoughts of being politically correct/incorrect were not on the top of our list.

That was my first lesson into diversity and empathy.� To know that the community and the world were larger than #lesbiancafe and because we know what it means to be excluded, we need to expand our gates into the horizon so that we can embrace the stranger.

Fast forward to now, I�m constantly amazed and challenged by the intelligence and sheer determination of the Sayoni women.� We spend countless hours debating, fighting, agreeing and poring over complex strategic and sometimes emotional issues that come with activism.� With our sheer diversity, we learn every step of the way the meaning of respect and family and we imagine a future for our community and seek to create it so that the others will live in it.

Today, we�re proud to announce the official launch of Sayoni, a Singapore-based platform for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Asian women.

We hope to shape and hand over the tools to women so that they can carve out their voices.� In our long and fruitful journey together we aspire to become a part of the larger reality, nurture a connectedness with the world, and search for who we really are deep down inside, our wells of affirmation and strength that were passed down to us by our mothers.

Through the platform of a publishing site and a forum, we trust the power of words in sharing, in dialogue and disagreements that will propel forward the unfolding of our thought process and the essence of our very being.

Our name, Sayoni, signifies the origin of life, myth, womanhood, feminism and sexuality. A new beginning and we welcome you to be part of the Sayoni family.


# xav 2010-02-01 21:13

xav said,

February 7, 2006 at 12:46 am

is ’she’ the prefered pronoun for your FTM friend?
# snorkeemm 2010-02-01 21:13

snorkeem said,

February 7, 2006 at 11:56 am

it’s a he now. I’m trying to capture our lack of knowledge at that time.
# ppeggy 2010-02-01 21:14

peggy said,

February 7, 2006 at 12:49 pm

queer women in sg have come a long way!!
and our story continues….

wat a journey it has been isn’t it jean?

# Mier 2010-02-01 21:14

Mier said,

February 7, 2006 at 12:58 pm

May Sayoni go a long way towards empowering queer women! =)
# MJ 2010-02-01 21:14

MJ said,

February 7, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Hi! I’m MJ from Philippines. I am glad to have found this group and I hope to find a lot of progressive and fun conversations with everyone. More power to Sayoni!

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