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The Invisibles
Articles - Activism
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 28 May 2006 00:00
man in crowd

No, not another super-hero family with powers of self-effacement. I am referring to those among us, who cannot be distinguished from the straight population at large. Those who blend in, becoming another faceless figure in the crowd, as opposed to those who defy norms of sexual and gender expression.

The Invisibles often get a rather schizophrenic treatment: the camp who endorses such 'normality' as being what will bring the straight people to our cause, and the camp who believes gay people are different no matter what, and hence the Invisibles are selling out.

In the lesbian world, invisibility is associated with 'femmes', straight-appearing women who are not visibly masculine or lesbian.

Wait. Read my last statement carefully, and you will have noticed several assumptions and stereotypes reflected already.

1. Lesbians are usually masculine girls, often butches and andros
2. To be explicitly identified and acknowledged as lesbian, one must dress and behave differently from straight women

I shall not attempt to discuss the origins of such assumptions, for it relates to extensive amounts of queer theory, history and culture. But I would like to question the validity of it: does being feminine or masculine have anything do with sexuality? There are plenty of masculine girls who are as straight as the day is long, and plenty of feminine girls who only have eyes for other women. I’ve heard people saying, “but they all look so femme!” as if lesbianism and feminity were mutually exclusive. Visibility is not equal to sexuality.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:28
 
Activism with A-band-on
Articles - Activism
Written by Jin   
Thursday, 16 March 2006 00:00

I've been wearing a rainbow-coloured rubber wristband. You know, those wristbands that come in various colours, first it was a yellow one from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, then there was the dual black/white for anti-racism, and before long, even Giordano and McDonalds were selling them too. I'm not one for fads, so I've never owned or bought one in any of the myriad of colours they come in. Except this Rainbow one.

My gf and I bought one each, from a gay shop in Sydney. Our $10 went in support of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. We put them on as we left the shop, and to me, it was like now I was 'branded', I was wearing a visible sign that acknowledges that I am gay. My gf wondered if wearing rainbow wristbands would attract attention and maybe get us beaten up by some anti-gay hooligans.

It was a big step for me, my small triumph of activism. Declaring to the world 'Hey, I am gay, and I don't mind letting you know that either.' Ordinarily, people would not glance twice at me because my appearance fits the stereotype of 'straight', but this time, we both felt somewhat self-conscious as we walked back to the train station.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 16:00
 
We are in this… Together
Articles - Activism
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 16 February 2006 00:00

After reading Thio Su Mien’s article on TODAY, i experienced a waterfall of emotions.

I was aghasted at how people can manipulate research and present it according to their agenda. Without consideration of what the general field is saying. To lie when they have to. To speculate and put forth their conjectures as ultimate truth.

I realized also… that TODAY does not check the veracity of her statements. And how can i blame them? They are not psychologists. And the rest of the world is as ignorant of the discipline.

I grieved for the general public. For the majority, they exchange a few coins for the papers. Many of them believe the information they receive wholeheartedly. There is a stereotype that if you know what’s happening in the news, you are “educated” and therefore “higher-class” so to speak. And so they devour the news vociferously. If only they know the forces behind publication. That the news they have in their hands are published, and sometimes exaggerated, if it serves, or is non-threatening, to government interest. And much information that seems to undermine their ideal society is witheld. No matter how scientific, how rooted in empirical evidence it is.

In the midst of all these… i was somewhat overwhelmed. Anti-gay activists are supported by the government. I believe that anyone can have their own opinion. But facts are facts- they are either there or they are not; they cannot be changed.

But… so what if facts are facts? Facts can be twisted; people can lie… as i saw all too well in the Thio Su Mien’s article. It seems such an impossible task! It was rather discouraging… and i was at the moment… grieved and resigned…

Then all of a sudden, it struck me… I AM NOT IN THIS ALONE.

All my fellow queer brothers, sisters and those in between… who are all over the world… who are fighting for rights. Who are fighting against stereotypes by their mere existence… we are all in it together. And we are indeed making progress!

Yes, they can try all ways and means to twist facts… to brainwash the public with half-truths… to stir up public fears with lies… to encourage unjustifiable stereotypes.

But… even if they kill me today, there are some things they cannot do…:

They cannot stop me from having loved my mother, my father, my sister and my good friends.
They cannot stop me from having been kind to animals, having empathy for the marginalized, reaching out in love to those who need it.
They cannot take away the education in me- the critical thinking that professors have instilled in me all these years; the knowledge that i was given; the willingness to explore out of the box, to question status quo.
They cannot stop me from having had my ambitions of further improvement for myself, for my family, for society.
They cannot take away this essence of me… that defines me as a person.

By my everyday living, i am refuting the theories that these anti-gay activists are making futile attempts to reinforce. People around me who interact with me knows me… this is the real me. I am not some artifact of the negative gay stereotype. I am a human-being who lives in your normal everyday, who face the same daily events that any other person does. And people talk… information is passed on like the ripple effect.

Things are in progress. As individuals, let’s not lose heart. We are in this together.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 16:11
 
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