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Twittereport: “Are We There Yet?”
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Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:00

Yesterday Sayoni organised a forum titled “Are We There Yet?” 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 (ie the volunteer tweeters), and just anyone who helped out.

Time

Update

Sat Aug 22 19:32:54

Things are being set up for “Are We There
Yet”. This event is going to be reported live on twitter! #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:40:40

People are filing into the room rapidly #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:54:24

We haven’t started yet, but the crowd is 60 people
and counting! There look to be more coming. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:00:55

The panellists are taking their seats. We are about
to start “Are we there yet?” Kelly is welcoming everyone to the
Sayoni forum. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:03:07

The speakers are Alexandra Serrenti, Raqvind, Hui
Yee, Swee Jean, and Jean. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:04:32

Kelly: The first issue for the night is about the
AWARE saga. Many queer women voted against the new exco and rallied others.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:06:44

Alex is speaking on her concerns with the ex-new
exco. It only began an issue on sexuality later, after TSM appeared. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:02

Alex: Would like to thank TSM for getting her
involved in the community again. We as queer women need to speak up for
ourselves #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:52

Would like to encourage everyone to think abt their role
as gay people and their involvement in the community. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:10:01

Someone from the floor is saying that she identifies
as a woman first and then as a lesbian, therefore wld speak up #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:05

Jean: First impression was familiar names in AWARE
from letter-writing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:51

Raqvind: The EGM was important in bringing up the
gay issue, in everyday life as well. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:14:30

Kelly has changed to a new PPT slide. New Exco’s
stand vs Old Guard.CSE,SpiderLilies/Old Guard included queer women direct
svcs etc #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:15:53

Floor: AWARE is neutral, simply tries to include all
aspects of ‘woman’. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:16:37

Kelly: Have your expectations shifted after the EGM?
Several hands raised.#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:17:24

Hui Yee: More about people, not just gay people, in
Singapore making their voices heard. AWARE not explicitly gay-friendly. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:18:33

Swee Jean (SJ): Should not downplay it; there were
in fact many gay women in grp, played a significant part in the reaction
& votes #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:19:29

SJ: Standing up for self as lesbian and as women. Deeply
disturbed that grp of unknowns wld do this. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:21

Jean (JC): How many were here at Constance Singam’s
talk? (Many hands raised) angry crowd of gay women etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:34

About 70 people in the room, including the speakers.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:23:22

Floor: Question abt whether it is a problem to
conflate sexuality and women’s issues #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:24:46

Floor: Abortion is never a lesbian issue? Sorry, but
we are a subgroup within women. There are still lesbians who are dealg
w/issue #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:25:26

Kelly (KT): In Constance’s talk, she felt that Aware
was doing enough by includg queer women. Not identity-based advocacy #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:26:03

KT: …but issues-based advocacy. Don’t queer women
have it pretty good already? some people ask. Will introduce the survey 2008
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:28:07

KT: … also doing a report related to CEDAW. Survey
findgs: (1) Education. Women experience attraction mostly in teenage yrs
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:29:45

KT: How did you relate to that (i.e. lesbianism
excluded from official sex education) in growing yrs? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:31:07

JC: No role models in youth-seen as deviance. Coping
w/shame,religion. Had wished for female role models. Instead, she had Alex Au
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:32:32

JC: Constance’s book abt history of women in Sg, did
not mention queer women. Does not blame her… Cannot wait for pple to do
this #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:33:35

Alex Au: First met her in Sept 1997 (around there),
when he was invited to give a talk at Substation. Constance was present.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:34:11

AA: …talk on basic sexual orientation. After the
talk, she approached him and said she didn’t know who to ask abt these
things. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:35:46

SJ: Comments on CSE – heartened to hear abt CSE,
difficult to hear that it has been withdrawn. Wld hv been wonderful in sec
sch. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:36:54

SJ: … to have been treated normally at that age if
u talked to a teacher/dressed tomboyishly. Hope tt it’ll become more
inclusive #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:39:00

HY: Had a qn once abt how 2 women have sex. We shld
forgive them for not knowing. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:40:36

HY: At Women’s Night, we focus on learning fr each
other. Focus on sharing. Be brave enough to share that bit of us. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:20

Floor: Heard a talk once where it was said that it
was immoral & unnatural.

#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:40

Floor: Tried to take a neutral stand in health edn.
Saddened for young pple in Sg. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:11

Floor: As someone who’s bisexual, told mother she
was attracted 2 women, was told it was a phase. At 22 realised cld not be
phase #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:30

Floor: …impt to teach women how to identify if the
attraction is real #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:54

Floor: Heterosexuals have support grps while gay
people do not. She got to know Sayoni by chance on FB. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:45:31

AA: (desperately needs to respond) The problem of knowing
when puppy love is phase or the real thing. But why is that impt? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:20

AA: …so what if it is a phase? Trying to
distinguish btw phasic love and non-phasic love (laughter)… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:43

AA: …it means that if it is a phase, we will get
told it can’t be real & we need to change! So what if it is a phase?
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:05

Floor: They say it is a phase because no one wants
their kids to be gay! Even in
countries where gay rights r advanced, same prob #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:39

Floor: …Long way to go. Shld be positive and say
it’s okay. Not the most impt thing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:49:34

AA: Why do we talk down experimentation? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:50:37

Floor: People can’t accept it now, need to push
people slowly along. We’re not there yet. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:51:39

KT: Topic (2) Identity and Media Representation.
Respondents thought sexuality was most impt aspect of identity, followed by gender
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:52:38

[Slide: fines and censorship by MDA for portrayal of
same-sex activity or rships as normal] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:53:26

Alex (AS): Within any self, there are multiple
identities. At some time, diff identities come to the fore due to
circumstances. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:56:09

AS: Impt we don’t lose sight of multiple
id–multiple racial id was similar to being gay, developd rsources fr being
racially mixed #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:04

AS: Many people have never seen a gay relationship.
Would be gd for more people to know #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:42

JC: Karen has just published an autobiography about
her life #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:00:00

KT: Maybe we can start by asking broadcasters to
stop censorship. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:02:05

Floor: Normal to have two mummies in certain parts.
Can’t censor whole world. I see
an earthquake buildg. At what pt will Sg stop? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:04:28

SJ: Mediacorp has limitations, limited budgets. Hard
to say when it will stop, but there are many more channels now. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:05:32

SJ: Just boycott any media outlets that seem
homophobic. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:06:26

[Slide: Workplace: 96% perceive some amt of
discrimination at work. Lack of recourse in event of discr. Only MNCs.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:07:30

Floor: Reveals to interviewer that she is gay. Your own
perception becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Depends on yr own ability.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:15

Floor: Can bring it up to MOM #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:30

KT: No dispute mechanism here #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:02

Floor: Over $1500, not covered by Employment Act
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:32

[Slide: 38% in monogamous rship, 10% dating, 44%
single] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:10:17

KT: How many of you would want to get married?
[About 50% raises hands.]

Sat Aug 22 21:12:12

[Slide: Marriage privileges -- Right to share family
name, property ownership. HDB subsidy. Medical rights, next of kin rights.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:14:39

[Slide: Employment benefits. Spousal or family violence.
Divorce or death of spouse. Travel. Parenting and adoption. Income tax.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:15:41

[Slide: Worrying signs from survey. Almost 1 in 4
had income < $20 000] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:16:08

KT: What is to be done? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:17:41

Raqvind (RK): The more you normalise it, the less
fearful they are. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:01

HY: Don’t be limited by yr imagination 2 wat exists presently.
Many types feminism out there. Only 1 feminist org, can form more. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:31

Floor: Form sexual minorities org? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:21:57

HY: Find it within yourself to start new movements,
causes. New feminist orgs don’t even hv to be formerly affliated w/AWARE
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:24:22

Floor: Been with AWARE 4 many years. Never felt
discriminated against. EGM brought out +ve things. Totally for forming new
grps #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:25:58

Floor: …No real conflict between AWARE and
lesbians. Was amazed by EGM, J and K. Act of doing somethg is itself
empowering. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:26:52

Floor: …Many new women have come forward.
Sometimes more strategic to form a separate grp. Keep EGM spirit alive.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:29:10

AA: Once every 10 years, government sets censorship
guidelines. Censorship Review Committee has been set up. Media rep impt.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:30:32

Floor: Started 1st gay org in India. They never
thought change wld happen. July 2nd, verdict validated hard work 4 past 15
yrs. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:31:41

Floor: Stem cell technology — tech will become
mainstream. Once gay pple can reproduce, it becomes normative. Use economy,
etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:04

AS: One other type of censorship we don’t normally
talk abt–shld we tell our colleagues, parents? Diff when someone u know…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:47

AS: …tells you. Not little perverts who are
sexually broken, diff in a fundamental way. Esp in Sg. “Conservative
Asian society”. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:07

AS: …need to show that homosexuality is at least
as much a part of our conservative Asian society #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:29

KT: Coming out had single largest impact on whether
they wld agree to same sex marriage. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:37:24

Floor: Visibility, period. Don’t hv to join grps for
that. Be visible as individuals. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:11

SJ: In answering qn what’s next, need 2 look at qn on diff lvls. Grassroots
lvl can’t be emphasised enough, comes bk 2 comng out. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:37

SJ: need to work on every front. All need to take more
resp. Participate in something you believe in. As simple as that. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:41:44

Floor:
One thing gay pple shld always rem. Be very gd in what you do. Work v
hard, be the boss if yr boss discriminates against u. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:42:48

Floor: …have to work on financial side. Coming
out, hv to take one more step. Don’t forget the burden u place on parents…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:43:15

Floor: …when coming out to them. Work with
parents. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:44:39

AS: Other forms of coming out. Not event but
process. Sometimes took chances on cming out to ppl where they were
distraught… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:20

AS: …slow consistent work.Extending the
hospitality of our rship to these people as well. Act of resp to the people u
come out to #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:32

AS: …take a chance on the hard cases. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:48:28

Floor: Very important to show people that we are out
there. When we forge ahead, we have to leave some history behind, next gen.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:54:45

New youth grp for gay teens! Between ages of 16 and
21 — Young Out Here. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:29

Sayoni will be conducting another event on 29th Aug.
United We Fall, Divided We Stand.

Common grd between gay men and women? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:51

KT is thanking the panellists. Thank you for
reading! #indigsg

 

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