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Population Townhall: A "Lesbian" Perspective
Articles - Commentary
Written by irene   
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 02:50

I attended the Population Townhall on 9 Oct, a consultation organised by REACH and the National Population and Talent Division as part of public engagement initiatives for our population issues. Citizens who completed the questionnaire posted on www.population.sg were invited to attend the session.

I wanted to contribute more progressive input towards this initiative. The language used on the website and questionnaire was very heterosexual-centric. I kept seeing the phrase "get married and have children", although not everyone will want to get married before having children. This remains true even for heterosexual couples, who may feel that they are ready to be parents but not married couples.

The panel included DPM Teo Chee Hean, Minister Grace Fu, Acting Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Amy Khor (REACH's chairperson), who was moderating.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 03:25
 
Too many gay plays?
Articles - Commentary
Written by alina   
Sunday, 22 August 2010 12:50

I heard someone remark, one day, that there "were too many gay plays" during a certain year, perhaps 2007 when Asian Boys Vol. 3 was running. I sought his reasons for saying so, and was satisfied at the time that he posed it as an opinion. But I also stewed over it after the incident.

I wish I had said the following three things to him:

(1) Would he have said the same about a play of another minority group? How would it sound to say, "Oh, there are far too many plays about race now. Having one or two is okay, but it was just too much."

The thing about being a minority group is that we are perpetually underrepresented in popular discourse. We don't have the luxury of being able to pop into a cinema every day and be able to see queer-identifying men and women living lives with their partners, pets and kids. Trying to balance out that ratio and having you squirm just means that you are used to the imbalance, not that it is in the natural or right way to go.

(2) To be fair to those who share his perspective, there may be a disproportionate amount of queer content in theatre compared to mass media meant for public consumption. However, a feature of the medium and of art in general is to push boundaries and to deal with the marginal issues of the day. If being gay were one day considered a normal facet of human life, and if power relations were somehow to equalise, I'm pretty sure it would become a far less interesting topic to depict in theatre. I hope we are moving towards that.

(3) With the presence of so many queer individuals in the theatre scene and the liberal slant of the arts community, it's surprising that there aren't more so-called gay plays around. Not that anyone, gay or straight, is obliged to address the topic in their art. But the stark absence of LGBT characters in plays and films, when they are the very people we know and love in everyday life, may just be reproducing the invisibility people with straight privilege are so used to. It's why I like to be pleasantly surprised by subtextual hints that protagonists have had same-sex attractions in their pasts. These things happen.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 August 2010 12:56
 
Die-hard questions
Articles - Commentary
Written by AnJ   
Sunday, 11 April 2010 01:22

Picture-1

Skyride at Sentosa, Singapore

This picture reminds me of never-ending questions, and conversations that go in circles...

*****

While having dinner with a Christian gay friend, she asked, ‘Anj, i have a question to ask you...’ Over my piping hot ramen, i took a deep breath and placed my chopsticks neatly at the side of the wide ramen bowl. And i studied her carefully for a few seconds as she began the conquest of her spicy minced pork ramen. She has been my friend for some years now and has asked me the darnest things. Sometimes i wonder how it is possible that a friend of mine would hold such values.

Gay people around me ask questions like...
•    ‘Don’t you think there’s something wrong with lesbians who dress like men? Why don’t they just be FTMs?’
•    ‘Don’t you think there’s something wrong with butches? They are born like women therefore they should behave like women.’
•    ‘Bisexuals cannot be trusted. They shouldn’t be in the community.’
•    ‘Gay people who are promiscuous should just be shot because they are bringing the community down.’
Christian struggling gay friends ask me additional questions like...
•    ‘Wasn’t Sodom destroyed because of homosexual activity? My church friend told me so.’

And i find myself defending the right to be masculine, to choose one’s partners, to change one’s sex and to choose one’s faith. That’s not onerous part. This is worse: typically, it takes multiple repeats before anything makes an impression. It’s almost like they are so rooted in what they believe, they find it hard to digest contrary evidence.
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 May 2010 23:59
 
Because women are naturally ‘ugly’- The Mold & my Repentence
Articles - Commentary
Written by AnJ   
Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:29

Hour-glass-woman
The 'Perfect' Woman

 

When i first picked up the book ‘Beauty Myth: How images of beauty are used against women’ by Naomi Wolf, i wasn’t expecting to repent.

Oppression against women... not me! How can that ever be?

Not with my belief that women are on par with men in terms of intelligence and its many forms.... or my conviction that women are presentable in the public sphere and that they make good in society. I pitch for equality and meritocracy for all genders. I am definitely for women, not against women.

Even before i read the book, i made it a point not to comment on how someone looks unless she/he is looking ‘good’. If i can’t say anything pleasant, i don’t say anything at all. I find people who go ‘hey, you have dark eye rings/pimples/wrinkles’ or ‘you are getting really big-sized/fat/a tummy huh?’ particularly agitating. The rule of thumb is simple: if whatever you want to say makes your friend feel bad and it ain't gonna help, shut up. If you think you are informing her of something she doesn’t know... guess what? Not a chance. She has probably scrutinized herself in the glass 1000 times. All you had was a perfunctory glance.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 January 2011 14:56
 
Voldemort the Half-Blood
Articles - Commentary
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 17 February 2008 00:00

[Warning: If you have not read the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which, I have no idea why you have not yet, read no further!]

I’ve always felt there was a queer reading to the magical world in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, not in the least because Dumbledore was gay. It is the way the community stays hidden, has their own culture and history, always afraid of being found out about their abilities. There is a reason why X-Men is so popular with the gay community, as they are along the same lines. But the seventh book introduced a new queer reading, with the take-over of the Ministry by Voldemort, which I shall explain in due course.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:42
 
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