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Twittereport: “United We Fall, Divided We Stand?”
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Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 30 August 2009 00:00

Yesterday Sayoni organised a forum titled �United We Fall, Divided We Stand?� for Indignation. For those who could not make it, the event was covered live on our twitter. We reproduce the report here for you. We also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who made this event possible – photo/videographers, ushers, receptionists, logistics, voluntweers, and just anyone who helped out from the conception of the event to the execution.

Time Update
14:28:06 Sun is shining and time is ripe to start our event! #indigsg
14:51:22 Going to start soon! Indu chasing people to sit down #indigsg
14:54:26 Moderator: Sam Ho.. Panelists: Stuart Koe, Hui Yee, Jaime Low, Bryan Choong. #indigsg
14:51:38 SH: This debate will explore the issues concerning our LGBT community along the axis of gender. #indigsg
14:59:01 Topic of debate: Can our LGBT community actually work better if we stay divided instead of being united? Pro: SK & HY. Opp: JL & BC #indigsg
14:02:50 SK: Is the shared desire for same-sex relationships enough to keep us together? Fridae has tried to bring together men and women#indigsg
15:05:11 [Note: Proposition=> United We Fall, Divided We Stand; Opposition=> United We Stand, Divided We Fall] #indigsg
15:06:40 HY (2nd speaker of proposition): all of us grew up with heterosexual norms. But as LGBT people we need separate spaces… #indigsg
15:06:56 …to avoid falling back into those heterosexual norms #indigsg
15:08:00 If a lesbian walks into a gay-man dominated space, she may not feel that she can say what she wants. We need a space to … #indigsg
15:09:10 … find and nurture our own voice. 1 eg: Thru running WomensNite, a lesbian space, I’ve seen women grow in confidence #indigsg
15:10:42 Next speaker is Jaime Low from FCC #indigsg
15:11:48 JL(1st speaker of the opp): perhaps idealistic that we have to work together. How many of us work in a purely single-sex workplace#indigsg
15:12:38 it is not practical to work separately. there is limited experience if we segregate. #indigsg
15:14:02 integration also helps to eliminate stereotypes. we should work together to build stronger ties within the community #indigsg
15:16:13 let there be space for single genders, but to move the community ahead, we have to work together. #indigsg
15:16:46 BC (from OC): Has had little chance to understand women until 2005 when they did a workshop. 6/12 were women participants. #indigsg
15:19:09 … Realised when we break it down to the basics, we are all the same, beyond labels. Has wondered y women are particular… #indigsg
15:20:53 … people are actually different from what he was brought up to believe. Differences are impt, & org cannot continue if segregated #indigsg
15:22:23 … Why gay men should be concerned with AWARE too. Not a gay men thing, but because he sees himself as part of society #indigsg
15:22:36 … should cross the gender boundary to work together #indigsg
15:23:09 Now the Proposition and Opposition shall dialogue.
15:24:14 SK: In some contexts, appropriate to hv both genders together, and some not. Misogynistic world, men do dominate in many contexts #indigsg
15:25:00 … for women to earn that space, is something they fight for and that guys should respect. #indigsg
15:25:25 … At the end of the day, what brings us together is our humanity. Laws that treat both men and women differently. #indigsg
15:26:15 … But for social spaces, why should we insist that men and women should hang out together? #indigsg
15:28:08 BC: you can learn so much more by hanging out with a person of the opposite sex #indigsg
15:28:59 …that is how you build a relationship, by getting to know people as friends, in a close emotional relationship#indigsg
15:30:26 HY: agree that there is a common agenda, eg remove discrimination. but how we achieve that is different #indigsg
15:30:45 just by pulling in any random lesbian into a gay male project is tokenism#indigsg
15:32:54 JL: Dialogue should take place for understanding to happen. Can’t be tokenism. Start in social context,know each other as frens 1st #indigsg
15:33:14 if you don#indigsg
15:34:19 SH: Question for Prop – what does the community stand to lose if we work together? #indigsg
15:35:07 SK: our differences and our diversity is our strength. by becoming homogeneous we will weaken the community
15:36:06 BC: Prefers to say “diverse we stand”. (SH: But what would work in S’pore?) #indigsg
15:36:38 BC: Need to make conscious effort, create the space. #indigsg
15:37:07 JL: Younger generation doesn’t face this issue anymore (i.e. don’t want to wk with gay men). Gender divide will ultimately fall. #indigsg
15:37:50 Discussion has been opened to the floor. #indigsg
15:38:29 Floor: You don’t actually disagree with each other at all. What exactly is JL & BC’s point? Within FCC & OC, also women’s supp grps #indigsg
15:39:03 … we can work together while not ignoring the fact that we have differences. #indigsg
15:40:21 BC: OC and FCC have always had men and women working together for specific things. But more can be done. #indigsg
15:40:36 Floor: What is the diff between the 2 positions? #indigsg
15:41:24 JL: Differences are not that great. Gender stereotype if we talk abt fundamental differences. We can still work together. #indigsg
15:42:04 …also grp of people who are more comfortable with own spaces. But idea is to move them along – in soc we hv to mix with opp sex #indigsg
15:43:16 Floor: Definition of ‘divided’? Differing definitions. Recognition of diversity is not the same as pitting oneself against another #indigsg
15:43:48 … Grps out there interested in dividing us amongst ourselves. #indigsg
15:45:00 Floor: there are outside parties trying to use “wedge politics” to divide the community, ie divide and conquer #indigsg
15:46:42 HY: there is a need for intra-community dialogue, but each of us needs to stand up and speak out against false claims directed at us#indigsg
15:47:00 SK: Shouldn’t even have to debate on those grounds, of gay promiscuity, because it happens among straight people too. #indigsg
15:48:14 …religious conservatives are using this against gay men, but we should not defend ourselves. Or even if its nature or nurture. #indigsg
15:48:22 … It is about choice. #indigsg
15:48:42 HY: Promiscuity = stereotype? #indigsg
15:49:18 SK: More common for guys to divide sex from emotions. #indigsg
15:49:35 SH: Gender essentialist debate? Back to floor.#indigsg
15:50:09 Floor: An even more pressing reason for alliance/collaboration is it is important to sensitise us to internalised sexism #indigsg
15:51:06 … even in queer settings. E.g. Stewart mentioned TLA, called her speech schoolgirl with notecards. Belittling tone. #indigsg
15:51:42 … Bryan’s ref to what turns queer women on. This framing of women contributes to widespread sexism. #indigsg
15:52:03 … Even more important to use chances of collaboration to become more aware to combat these common habits of speech. #indigsg
15:52:38 BC: Not an attack upon women but recognition that she is female. #indigsg
15:53:15 HY: Misogynist society, misogynist terms come up all the time. Wrong to hold back from saying what’s on your mind – limiting #indigsg
15:53:53 … These terms of reference can be construed as sexist, and that should be the starting point of any debate. #indigsg
15:54:10 … We should recognise the sexual norms we are brought up in order to work together. #indigsg
15:54:45 BC: We should create a space where we can make mistakes together. #indigsg
15:55:13 SH: Is internal misogny the real problem here? #indigsg
15:55:40 Floor: We need a gender-specific space for women, because often it is too internalised. In mixed gender space, norms we hv #indigsg
15:55:56 … internalised act up #indigsg
15:56:18 HY: In Women’s Nite, women say they don’t know what women want! #indigsg
15:56:59 Floor: In Sg, we can be united over specific topics, in response to attacks. But when things are okay #indigsg
15:57:30 … we might be divided. Was expecting Stewart to emphasise how we do need to be divided. Need gay men to have their own stuff #indigsg
15:58:16 … The more separate we are, the more powerful we are. Rather have many grps than one big gay men/women group. #indigsg
15:59:46 … Not here to fight over heteronormativity. I don’t want to be with lesbians only. #indigsg
16:00:35 Floor: Thought we shld be divided to survive rather than staying apart from each other. What abt us and the larger community? #indigsg
16:02:02 SK: Forced into the position by the debate format. People are brought together by common goals. #indigsg
16:02:38 … Sometimes women and men can work together, sometimes it doesn’t happen, depends on the context. E.g. org what type of party. #indigsg
16:03:19 HY: Clarification – heterosexual norms meant the assumptions we make abt men and women, that men are assertive/women are demure. #indigsg
16:04:13 …heteronormativity doesn’t come in here #indigsg
16:05:18 Floor: Lesbians dont need gay men to speak for them, we can speak for ourselves, but we need to grow to a point to be able to do tt#indigsg
16:06:50 …we need to have separate groups to nurture and grow our voices before we can speak for ourselves #indigsg
16:07:40 having many groups is better than one single big group. many diff gay voices representing diff gay ppl makes us more powerful #indigsg
16:09:10 Floor: Division always occurs when there are differences. We tend to divide ourselves according to the constructs we live with. #indigsg
16:09:53 … But we can also choose to divide ourselves by norms we choose ourselves. Historically, people banded 2gether 2 face challenges. #indigsg
16:11:09 … Church grps are very organised. And we still have questions among ourselves. Are we divided? united? goal for this talk? #indigsg
16:11:50 … What history do we fall back on, leave behind? How can we move our community forward? Good to hv more grps, #indigsg
16:12:10 ways to develop ourselves individually and as a community. #indigsg
16:13:59 Floor: maybe the way to dialogue within the LGBT community is not so confrontationally but by having a platform #indigsg
16:14:54 But having many queer groups actually confuses those groups which are against the gay community #indigsg
16:15:16 Floor: where is the Transgendered community in this debate? #indigsg
16:15:59 Floor: how long will it take before men are allowed to attend Womens Nite? when will you know if women are confident enough to …#indigsg
16:16:15 …speak in front of men? #indigsg
16:17:06 Floor: When will women feel okay to let gay men into their spaces? e.g. Women’s Nite. #indigsg
16:18:45 SK: Even men didn’t want to care about the repeal of 377A, and it was the women who said we have to standup for human rights issues #indigsg
16:19:37 SK: We should ignore our differences and focus on what we have in common instead. #indigsg
16:20:21 HY: Women need safe space (wrt Women’s Nite). #indigsg
16:22:12 Floor: Surprised that people are talking about institutionalised sexism. Gay men might be afraid of lesbian women, #indigsg
16:22:45 … if we expect someone to change, we need to initiate that change, be friends with them first and educate them. #indigsg
16:23:37 … Danger of same-sex groups. Stop talking and do not interact, comfortable in their own spaces. Prevents greater understanding. #indigsg
16:24:26 … Although we have all these groups, we should also make the effort to interact with people,shouldn’t let our impressions stop us #indigsg
16:25:56 BC: OC has a male-dominated image so we always reinforce the fact that it is an all-sex group. #indigsg
16:30:04 Floor: Logical fallacy to saying that all women here seem so confident and therefore no need for safe spaces. #indigsg
16:31:09 … Education, yes, but it is also important for people outside the marginalised grp 2 be aware of blindness 2 their own privilege #indigsg
16:31:45 floor: vice versa, if we were to say that a sauna is open to women for a night, how many men will show up? #indigsg
16:32:36 Floor: if you (as a man) want to go to Women’s Nite, what will you be able to contribute? #indigsg
16:33:17 63 attendees at tonight’s event #indigsg
16:33:55 SK: We are all talking about the same thing. Ultimately, we all have differences & things we have in common, need to acknowledge tt #indigsg
16:34:52 SK: there are differences and each of us is unique; we need to embrace that and each be individuals, not all from same cookie-cutter#indigsg
16:36:53 HY: Not knowing is okay. We should be open to educating pple who don’t know. We can learn a lot by coming out of our comfort zones. #indigsg
16:37:45 JL: We should not let the differences stop us from working with one another. Focus on similarities. #indigsg
16:38:33 BC: Sometimes anger comes from being comfortable with yourself. If that common goal is removed, what bands us together? #indigsg
16:40:11 All the panelists and the moderator received flowers from sayoni. #indigsg
16:47:32 Thank you everyone for coming (and those reading), and to our esteemed organisers! #indigsg
 

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