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Ending the War

Originally published on Sayoni.

“Fridae has been told that a total of 85 people including filmmakers Sun Koh and Royston Tan have lodged police reports over the long Chinese New Year weekend about pastor Rony Tan’s offensive comments concerning gay men and lesbians in an online video.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Freedom of religion is a tricky thing. Take it too far and you can justify theocracy, give it too little and you have oppression. When freedom of religion and freedom of speech attempts to go together, it becomes even more of an unnavigable thicket.

Did Pastor Rony Tan make a mistake? Of course he did. He said things that were both ignorant and arrogant, as well as extremely bigoted. He acted in a way that no religious leader should have, in openly disparaging another religion, especially without much basis. Very few people would say that what he said was completely acceptable. And he has been reprimanded for it, by the ISD no less. The implications on this being considered a national security issue are for another author to debate thoroughly, but this author believes the use of the ISD to be heavy-handed and to send a chilling effect on political discourse and legitimate criticism of religion.

The ground gets more slippery when one considers his remarks against the queer community. I watched the video and found myself rolling my eyes at his ignorance. But what’s new? He is only echoing what every other pastor says, when they might choose to speak on the issue. I am not sure he has had the opportunity to know better, and even if he hasn’t, whether he even realises the damage he is doing. After all, he is doing what a lot of religious leaders do: latch on to one issue of moral significance and use it to gain popularity and following.

Continue reading

February 21, 2010 Posted by | LGBTQ, Religion, singapore | , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: The L Word Season 6

So here it is. The end. The finale of the series that has alternately kept on the edge of our seats, swear in despair, rush to the nearest bar to get a drink at the end of 13 episodes only to wait for the next season to begin, cry, laugh and generally provide a good fodder for gossip and some good old-fashioned bitchfest.

The reason this season review is two weeks late, is because I had to consult a therapist for the acute and schizophrenic feelings of loss and relief. It is kinda like ending a very bad/abusive relationship that just gets worse by the day – you are so glad it has ended (and it certainly feels nice not to be beaten up all the time) but at the same time, you have been with the woman for 5 years and letting go is hard, and you miss being around her.

So, here’s a season review, as tough as it was to write.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Continue reading

March 24, 2009 Posted by | LGBTQ, TV Shows | , , , | 3 Comments

Sayoni Events: Anniversary Party and Summer Camp

It is an exciting time to be around Sayoni – we have two events to present to you: Sayoni Third Anniversary Party and the Sayoni Summer Camp ’09.

The Anniversary Party is the highlight of our year, for sure, as we let down our hair and party like it has yet been another successful eventful year for us. Each year, we have grown and changed. Each year, we have gained new family members and gotten to more milestones, and each year, we honour the women that make it all possible. Ladies and gentlemen, you are invited to the Sayoni Third Anniversary Party: Homecoming.

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.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Announcements, LGBTQ | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: The L Word Season 6 Premiere

Originally published on Sayoni Speak

There are a few great mysteries in this world. Are there aliens out there? Does God exist? How were the pyramids built? But the greatest mystery of all, to me, is still why in the world I continue watching The L Word (and Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve resolved to give no more airtime on this website to that particular show). As a heads-up to all our readers: a (slightly edited) first episode is available on the Official L Word podcast, free and legal for download.

Continue reading

January 26, 2009 Posted by | TV Shows | , , , | Leave a comment

The Grey Area

Originally published on Sayoni Speak.

So we all had high hopes. We all stayed glued to our screens, crying with joy about the best thing that ever happened to network television lesbian representation: Callie and Erica on Grey’s Anatomy.

Continue reading

November 11, 2008 Posted by | LGBTQ, TV Shows | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sayoni Survey Report 2008

Originally published on Sayoni Speak

Sayoni proudly presents Sayoni Queer Women Survey 2008 Report (Singapore).

Abstract

Objectives:

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.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | LGBTQ | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sayoni Queer Women Survey 2008 (Singapore)

Sayoni is proud to present the Sayoni Queer Women Survey, 2008. This survey is aimed at queer, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women living in Singapore, to gather essential information about the community, in terms of…

1. Age, racial and religious composition

2. Educational and career background, and financial status

3. Social framework, in relation to their sexual orientation

4. Personal/Emotional status, in relation to their sexual orientation

5. Feedback, on Sayoni and on the community

We appeal to you to take this survey, if you happen to belong to the target group. Just five minutes of your time can help us learn how to better help you and the community as a whole, as well as serve as a record of progress throughout the years.

All information, once collected and analysed, will be made publicly available.

Please be reassured that this survey is completely anonymous. Individual responses will not be revealed, and will not be traceable to the individual user.

Please help spread the word around, to your queer female friends. We aim to capture people from all social strata in this survey.

Sayoni Queer Women Survey 2008

If you wish to see the reports from last year, please click here.

Thank you for your time!

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Announcements | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Science of Love

From the Dr of Love herself…

QT: I always read studies, which of course you can’t take too seriously, but there are studies saying gays are more inclined to be drug addicts or are more inclined to have risky sex. Obviously there are social factors to be taken into account, but is there any study of dopamine or any other chemical like that in gay people?

HF: I have no idea. For example, you don’t find the risky sex in gay women, but I think that may be a very different biological system. We hear about all the gays that are copulating under the pier in Province Town, but we don’t hear about all the gays who are settled down. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the huge number of swingers and polyamory people and adultery in the straight population. I’ve always felt that gays are just like straights. Who you fall in love with, that would differ, but how you feel when you fall in love – that would be similar. I did a basic study and didn’t find that my gay population chose their mates any differently than the straights. In other words, a high dopamine type is probably going to go for another high dopamine type whether they’re gay or whether they’re straight.

…..

QT: Do you think that’s an evolutionary development to find one other person?

HF: No. I think that’s human. 97% of animals do not pair up to rear their young. Only 3% do. We do. Even 3 million years ago, our ancestors were forming pair bonds. Now, they weren’t marrying, because that’s a cortical, conscious ritual, but they were forming pair bonds to rear their babies as a group. We’ve evolved this brain system for attachment. I think that gays have it, too. About a month ago, when there was a lot of publicity, I called our CEO and said, “Let’s pull our gay people and look at who they choose”. So that I can say to the press, “The gays choose exactly the same as the straights do”.

You can find the full interview with Queerty here.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | Relationships | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope Concert

Hope Concert

Please try to spread this around to your friends and support this concert if you can.

This was previously banned by the MDA back in 2005, and that’s what first propelled me into HIV/AIDS work, with AFA. Now they have issued a restricted license for this. I would understand why a play such as Happy Endings: Asian Boys Vol 3 would have an R18 rating, but not why an innocent concert like this, which features no nudity/semi-nudity or sexual references, no mature themes, no references to homosexuality deserves the same. The reason given by the MDA is that performers are a gay couple, and this also means that they are not allowed to advertise in mainstream media. Continue reading

December 2, 2007 Posted by | LGBTQ, singapore | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

J Kirby fires the parting shot

I am fast becoming a big fan of J Michael Kirby, judge of the High Court of Australia. In his long article about religious freedom related to the Lina Joy issue [in Malaysia], he makes a passing comment about Ms Thio’s remarks in parliament related to the 377A issue. [I am not posting the relevant except here, go read it yourself. Here’s a clue, Ctrl-F “Dr Thio”]

Actually it is more than passing – he quotes her speech quite a bit, and makes a remark so acid that I have to wonder whether there isn’t a hole burned into the paper.

*bows to His Honour* Thank you, thank you, thank you.

November 22, 2007 Posted by | Law | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment