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Indignation 2008: A Closure
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Saturday, 23 August 2008 00:00

Indignation 2008 season is now over – all good things must come to an end – and at the end of yet another successful pride month, Sayoni would like to thank all its supporters and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make our events possible. We would like to thank, as well, all the people who turned up at the events and made it vibrant.

Here’s wishing for another year of progress!

Outline of “Brain Surgery” talk
Articles - Events
Written by AnJ   
Friday, 15 August 2008 00:00

Here’s the outline for “Brain Surgery: What’s in the minds of homophobes?”

How the term “homophobia” came about:
In 1972, at the onset of the stonewall rebellion [July 1969], George Weinberg coined �homophobia�. He defined it as �the dread of being at close quarters with homosexuals.. The revulsion toward homosexuals and often the desire to inflict punishment as retribution�. Mark Freedman later described it as �an extreme rage and fear reaction to homosexuals�. Poet Audre Lorde�s definition in 1978 was, �fear of feelings of love for members of one�s own sex and therefore hatred of those feelings in others�.

The definition of “homophobia”:
Homophobia has little in common with other types of phobia. It should be seen in the framework of prejudice (attitudes) and discrimination (behaviors). Researchers who published papers in recent years generally define it along the lines of prejudice, hatred or contempt towards lesbian and gay people [with extension to other sexual minorities].


“Common types” of homophobes:
In these few slides, i put down examples that i have read of, seen, heard of or experienced e.g. gay bashers.


Wright, Adams and Bernat’s homophobia scale:
You can access the scale from here. There are other scales measuring homophobia such as “The Attitudes Toward Gay Men Subscale” and “The attitudes towards lesbian women subscale”.
*Please note that scales are not just any set of questions put together. Scales are developed and rigorously tested by statisticians so that they measure what they are supposed to measure. Not just by face validity [i.e. the questions "look okay"], but with convergent and divergent validity [it correlates highly with other scales measuring similar things and correlates lowly with scales that measures dissimilar things], consistency [the items are tapping onto the same concept] etc. One item does not give you a meaningful score, answers to all items in a scale are required to compute a score. Not every researcher uses scales… simply because scales are not developed for every concept out there.*


Profile of the homophobe:

Next, i discussed the article which was used in the anti-repeal of 377A.
The reference:
Detenber, B. H., Genite, M., Ku, M. K. Y., Ong, C. P. L., Tong, H. Y., & Yeow, M. L. H. (2007). Singaporeans� attitudes towards lesbians and gay men and their tolerance of media portrayals of homosexuality. Internal journal of public opinion, 19(3), 367-379.

From this article, someone made the conclusion that Singapore is not ready for the repeal of 377A [377A criminalize sex between gay men] because 68.6% expressed negative attitudes, 22.9% expressed positive attitudes, 8.5% were neutral. The participants for this study were acquired randomly and the demographics profile was similar to that of the general population.

But if you read the study for yourself, the study is actually seeking predictors of negative attitudes towards lesbian and gay people. Guess what they found?

There are 3 tables in the journal article. Table 1 displayed results showing predictors. Using correlation, they found that age [older], income [lower], education [lower], conformity to norms [more conformist] and intrinsic religious orientation [versus extrinsic religious orientation] correlate highly with poor attitudes towards LG people. The highest correlation going to intrinsic religious orientation [IRO]. Intrinsic religious orientation is defined as “seeing religion as a driving force in life”.

Using regression, which estimates the unique contribution of each predictor, marital status [these people were significantly older] and IRO were the strongest predictors.

In the second table, the researchers showed that Christians scored the highest in IRO, followed by Muslims, Buddhists and free-thinkers. In the third and last table, the researchers showed that Christians and Muslims were less tolerant compared to Buddhists and freethinkers.

Essentially, the researchers are saying that intrinsic religious orientation is the biggest predictor of negative attitudes towards LG people. And they showed that people of certain religions were more likely to be intrinsically religious and hence more likely to be anti-gay.

Adding to the study above [continuing on the profile of the homophobe]:

1. Male
Majority of gay bashers are in their teens or early twenties. Some have said that anti-gay violence is a control of manhood. Researchers have also shown that men who endorse homophobic and sexist items are likely to endorse hegemonic masculinity items.

2. Heterosexist
Heterosexism is the belief in the superiority of heterosexuals or heterosexuality evidenced in the exclusion, by omission or design, or non heterosexual persons in policies, procedures, events or activities.

3. Misogynistic
Researchers found links between homophobic violence and violence against young women. Those with traditional gender role attitudes tend to express higher levels of homophobia.

4. Authoritarian
Authoritarians have been described as “self righteous individuals who maintain a strong acceptance of traditional values and norms, possess a general willingness to submit to authority, and display a general tendency to aggress against others (especially those who threaten their conventional and traditional values)”.

It has been suggested that there is an underlying trait called “Conservatism”. Conservatism is linked to �national strength and order�. Order, discipline and striving to be successful and powerful. Outcomes of behavior important. Societal norms should be obeyed.

Conservatism has been linked to racism [e.g. lack of support for benefits for Australian Aborigines], sexism [e.g. lack of support for increased job options for women], greater acceptance of rape myth [i.e. rape victims deserve to be raped], lack of support for income redistribution, religious intolerance, homophobia etc.


Homophobia may lead to violence.

A study:
Homophobia and physical aggression toward homosexual and heterosexual individuals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 110(1), 179-187.

Basically participants played a game in which winners administer shocks to losers. Shock intensity and shock duration were measured.

The gist of this study is easy to understand. Aggression against gay people may be powered by anger-hostility [angry, irritable, hostile, scornful, disgusted and loathing] and anxiety. Negative affect [afraid, ashamed, distressed, guilty, jittery, nervous, scared, upset...] was not found to be a contributing factor.

Some people pointed out that non-homophobic participants end up shocking their opponents more. Well, the difference for non-homophobic participants is very small like 0.16 seconds. For homophobic participants, the difference is about 1.00, which is many times more. Homophobic participants not only shock “homosexual” confederate more, they also shock the “heterosexual” confederate longer and harder than their non-homophobic participants counterparts [using mean].


Combating homophobia

No one is born homophobic… homophobia is learned. Through direct observation, imitation… participation in rewarding interactions and experience of differential treatment.

And after it is learned, homophobia is sustained by the functions it serves. The functional approach says that people hold attitudes because of the psychological function or need that they satisfy. For example: to make sense of the world, to relate and maintain relationships with others, to protect the self from own homoerotic feelings, to maximize rewards and minimize punishments.

Some ways of combating homophobia:

1. Pointing out inconsistencies
E.g. Correcting myths
[Those who perceive the issue as extremely important to themselves are unlikely to change.]

2. Introducing new perspectives
E.g. Introducing gay friends if that’s an area that they are not sure about. It’s somewhat like correcting myths in a non-verbal way.

3. Providing substantiated information
Only works for those who are willing to think or assess the quality of their perspective’s assumptions and arguments carefully.

4. The contact hypothesis
Equal status contact between gay and non-gay people.

5. The media

The reference:
Remembering Gay/Lesbian Media Characters: Can Ellen and Will Improve Attitudes toward Homosexuals? Bonds-Raacke, Cady, Schlegel, Harris & Firebaugh (2007)

In the experiment, one group of participants was asked to recall a positive portrayal of a gay/lesbian character on TV or movie, while another group was asked to recall a negative portrayal. Will [from Will and Grace] and Ellen Degeneres were mentioned most frequently. When a character was portrayed positively, participants perceived character’s friends as more accepting of her/his homosexuality. It was also found that attitudes towards gay men improved through positive portrayal priming.


* Special thanks to Kai for coming up with the graphics for this talk; to pleinelune for being a dedicated mouse-clicker; to Kelly for organizing this; Alex Au for the catchy title of the talk [i first entitled it blandly as "homophobia"]; photographers [humph and edshutter] and to everyone from Irene’s gang of helpers who came down to run the event… last of all, friends who supported me one way or another. Thank you.

Indignation 2008: Queer Women within Feminist Singapore
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Wednesday, 13 August 2008 00:00


Ms. Constance Singam, current president of AWARE, Singapore�s leading advocacy group for gender equality, will shed some light on the place of queer women within the feminist movement. Where have we been?

She will speak about political and historical context, difficulties negotiating for respect and diversity, her personal experiences and the future.

Find out more about the feminist movement in Singapore and our part in it.

About Constance Singam

Constance is well-known for being an active and vocal social activist and feminist. She has two degrees in Literature, including an MA.

Her recent publications include �A History of the TWC: Building Social Space in Singapore� and the essay �Quietly Resisting; Silently Subverting: The Wayward Ways of Singapore Women� (Postmodern Singapore, Select Publishing). She was a co-editor of the book �Re-Presenting Singapore Women� (Landmark Publications).

Her social contributions were as Founding Member of TWC1, TWC2, and MediaWatch and as the Past President of SCWO.

Constance was a Columnist in several publications, including �Her World� and �Today� and held AWARE presidency for two terms prior to the present one: 1987-1989, 1994-1996, 2007-present.


AWARE is Singapore�s leading advocacy group dedicated to promoting gender equality and understanding. Since its inception in 1985, AWARE has brought women�s perspectives to national issues and has focused on Research & Advocacy, Educational Programs, and Direct Services.

AWARE seeks to identify areas for improvement in gender equality, encourage positive change and support women in realising their highest potential. It believes that gains made by women are not gains made at the expense of men. Rather, they are gains which benefit families and society as a whole.

AWARE is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation and is funded solely by donations, grants, and member subscriptions.

Date: Saturday, 16 August 2008
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

Indignation 2008!
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Thursday, 31 July 2008 00:00


Singapore�s 4th annual Pride Season is coming again – in August 2008

Rainbow bridgeThere are talks and forums, art and literature, and of course, fun social and outdoor events – for learning, celebrating and building bridges with those outside our communities. So please keep your evenings free in August and come to as many as you can.

All events are free of charge unless otherwise stated.

Sayoni will also be hosting our own events during Indignation. Please check out the full list of events HERE.

Sayoni Hot 20 List 2008: Voting Closed!
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 01:04

Voting is now officially closed for the Sayoni Hot 20 List 2008! We thank each and every person who voted. Results will be out within a couple of weeks! Meanwhile, tell your friends about the contest!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:57
Wilde-Indignation Fund-raising Gala Premiere (Singapore)
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 05 May 2008 00:00, in support of People Like Us� Indignation gay pride season, is organising the Singapore premiere of the film �Wilde� on Tuesday 13 May 2008, at the Lido theatres.

Directed by Brian Gilbert, this 1997 film tells the story of celebrated poet, novelist and playwright Oscar Wilde, who in 1895 was convicted of �gross indecency� under a UK law that was the precursor of Singapore�s infamous Section 377A. Wilde was a martyr to the moral hypocrisy of his time, and which unfortunately still lives on in Singapore.

The film was banned by the Singapore censors when first released. It has now been re-rated under revised film guidelines (post 2002 censorship review) as R21.

Fridae�s gala premiere is intended as a fund-raiser for Indignation, since Indignation events themselves (scheduled for August 2008) are traditionally free of charge, in order to be accessible to everyone. Tickets are priced at $20 (US$15) and $50 (US$38) – the latter includes a cocktail reception – and are available from Fridae�s movie site, or more directly from their tickets shop.

Crocodile men�s wear and Shaw theatres are the other sponsors and People Like Us would like to express our thanks to them and Fridae for their support.

Sayoni has been, and still is, a proud participant in Indignation over the years, and we would like to express our full support to this Gala Premiere.

Merry Christmas, darlings!
Articles - Events
Written by snorkeem   
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 00:00



From us all in Sayoni,
Here’s wishing you a Merry and Gay Christmas!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:37
The Indignation Question
Articles - Events
Sunday, 05 August 2007 00:00

An observation that perplexes me at times:

What are the real needs of gay people? And how do we reach out to them?


This was the third run of Indignation this year. As expected, it was highly anticipated and many activists and volunteers were preoccupied with its preparation and execution. There was a great variety of events being planned, and this time there was an improved �gender balance� in terms of the programs offered. There were also some landmark events, such as the kissing exhibition and a public sharing by 3 transsexuals. All in all, a very exciting two weeks indeed.

For most of the events I attended, the program ran smoothly without many hiccups and plenty of refreshments were provided. There were also many helpful volunteers on hand to distribute flyers, souvenirs and usher people to their seats. The topics covered in the events themselves were wisely chosen as they were pertinent and perhaps even taboo (yes even in the gay community itself!) and they were thoroughly discussed. In fact, there was a huge range in terms of programs offered: from forums, to dialogues to readings and film screenings. Indeed, there was much to learn through the sharing of people�s perspectives, their struggles and triumphs.

So I thought, isn�t this a great opportunity for gay people to look into a mirror and gather more insights about themselves and people like them? Why aren�t �hordes� of people, flocking to such events?

Sure, the turnouts have been large indeed. But I would estimate that 70% of the crowd�. are old-timers (i.e. repeat visitors from the previous Indignation, or active members of the various participating organizations in Indignation)

I don�t think publicity is a problem. Nope. Instead, the �bad press� we�re getting from �The Sewage Times� (as one fellow participant joked to me), is ironically creating tons of attention-grabbing publicity for us! Also, the emails on the mailing groups, e-advertisements etc. certainly have a wide reach encompassing thousands of people. I know of many gay friends who know of Indignation but choose not to attend. People seem to be aware, but not affected. As a result— It always seems that there is only a niche group of people who attend openly-gay events, despite publicity.


There could be many reasons why�

Firstly, many people prefer to live out their �gayness� in the closet. No need for them to attend pride season activities, wave the rainbow flag and immerse in deep contemplation of what it means to be gay with a whole auditorium of other queers (also all in deep thought). For them, perhaps the company of friends, family and closed ones are sufficient enough. Any queer-centric issues are easily figured out through the usage of the Internet. Or perhaps it�s even a non-issue for them. Gay means gay, lor. No need for them to� �Go out there�.

I�ve always thought this was the answer to our �re-run� turnouts. That despite big publicity, there were usually few new faces due to people�s lack of desire to attend. But there is a second reason.

Recently, I was speaking to a schoolmate of mine, and I asked her why she wasn�t coming. And she reasoned by stating, quite plainly, that when you boil the whole event down to its bare bones, its main function is that it is a social. That most people go to the events to mingle with others they know.

It might not be the main reason. But it definitely is a strong, often, the �turning-point� impetus for us to attend. Such events, underneath the official program structure, provided vast opportunities for people to interact intimately in a cozy setting, catch up with one another and stand around in little groups. Not saying that this is a bad thing per se. But it is something that inevitably develops in such small settings.

Hey, I�m guilty of doing these things too. And when she said that, I understood what she meant. And therefore� what it means for someone new. Someone who comes without �connections� inside the community, and without people to mingle with after the show is over. Perhaps for them, such events might be intimidating. If we are alone and lost, we tend to stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the cliques and chatty people. For some who choose not to come, perhaps the appeal of learning new perspectives is far out-shadowed by the prospect of facing the not-so-appealing social context etched into the event.

Thirdly, another reason she mentioned was the lack of interest in the events offered. And I was like �???? But everything applies to you!�. To which she said, �But. Gay-centric stuff is not my interest.�

Sometimes, oftentimes, I�d have to admit that most of us who attend such events… are a different �breed� of gay people. Perhaps there is a stronger sense of social activism or self-awareness of our queer-ness. That is why we are attracted to events or programs that are specifically targeted towards sexuality. It is a big issue, and focus, in our lives. Yet for other gay people, perhaps being gay is not a big issue inside of them. By �big�, I mean an issue which they actually channel time and energy to reflect over. Perhaps for some gay people, being �gay� only shows up when they fall in love, or have sex. But at other times, they are just like everyone else. For them, there is no need to ponder and dissect and pickle their brains over sexuality issues. It just� IS. Period. No need to consciously step out and discuss. Instead, they might be more interested in stuff like films and art. But gay-centric stuff? Nah�.


This again, brings me back to my first question. What do gay people really want and need?

Sometimes, as activists, we tend to think on a different level. Many of the programs we come up with tend to appeal to us (duh), but they might not necessarily appeal to the man on the ground. Perhaps that is why Indignation attracts a certain set of people. People like US. Us: meaning people who are already involved in the scene.

So how do we really reach out to the diverse world out there? And invite them through the doors of all these painstakingly-planned events? After all, we do this not for our own personal glorification, or as a cover-up means to have more �fun with our friends�. We do this because we have the community in mind. That we want to reach out to them, and hopefully add value and enrichment to their lives through the events that are planned. And at the same time, make a stand for being gay.

Because it�ll be a sad day if we find ourselves disconnected to the very people we seek to engage. Minority within a minority.

Indignation, anyone?

Maybe not everyone.

It is definitely difficult to ascertain what the community needs, due to the sheer diversity of personalities out there. Despite the fact that we�ll never hit the perfect formula, or cover the needs of every single gay person �. perhaps this is one question, we should never stop asking ourselves. Because in the process of asking, we can reflect, and we can improve. As I was writing this article, it dawned upon me that it was difficult to come up with concrete suggestions, or really pin down what gay people really need. Even the friend I spoke to had only one (her) opinion to offer, out of the many thousands of opinions out there.

But I guess, as a start, we can always increase our awareness of people�s needs, and ask the person next to us if they are coming for Indignation. And if not,


A message from Sir Ian McKellen for Indignation
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Thursday, 02 August 2007 00:00
Just before leaving Singapore after a week here performing William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen left a video message in support of the gay community of Singapore, with a special mention of Indignation, the LGBT pride season.

To movie-goers, Sir Ian McKellen is better known as the wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings Trilogy, James Whale in Gods and Monsters, Magneto in X-Men and the Da Vinci Code.

Transcript :

Hello, this is Ian McKellen. I’m speaking to you from Singapore where I’ve had the most wonderful time with the Royal Shakespeare Company working at the Esplanade Theatre for the Singapore Repertory Theatre. I knew very little about Singapore until I came here and I was immediately enraptured by the beauty of the place, the old buildings as well as the new, the old culture and the new, and the people, who were unfailingly friendly and helpful at every turn. And of course, being openly gay, I managed to meet a lot of gay people.

And then we come to the one thing I don’t like about Singapore, which is 377A. You know that law. It’s a British law, and why the hell you’ve not got rid of it, I’m not quite sure. Well, I am sure, because it’s taken us a long time in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world to deal with these old problems, these ancient attitudes that need to be removed if we’re going to be part of the 21st Century. So it’s very important that gay people, wherever they are, should identify themselves, stick up for themselves, represent themselves, modestly and positively, so the rest of the world knows that we’re here and we’re not going to go away. And we’re happy to be here.

And that’s why Indignation is so important. Have a wonderful time. I congratulate the organisers and I hope it’s a step, certainly in the right direction, but a positive step towards one day getting rid of 377A. And you know I’m on your side, and I send you all my love. Bye Bye.

Above is taken from’ For full schedule of indignation programs go to


Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:29
Sayoni Presents at Indignation 2007…
Articles - Events
Written by Indu   
Monday, 30 July 2007 00:00

A line-up of exciting events, ready to make you laugh, cry and think. This year, we present 5 diverse events, and guess what, boys? You can come and play too.
Events in chronological order:


Date: Saturday, 4 August 2007
Time: 3 – 5:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

Image credit: ground-breaking event will cover issues that bisexuals face every day in coming out, relationships and finding their own space within the queer community. Can bisexuals ever be monogamous? Are bisexuals in straight relationships traitors to the GLBT community? Fearless and unshy of controversy, this forum is for anyone who has once asked these questions.

Date: Saturday, 4 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Venue: 72-13
tongbutong_5Queer-themed Chinese writing has found a place in Singapore�s literary landscape, individually. Now they will come together at this groundbreaking event, for dialogue and expression. Celebrating diversity, this promises to be a literary treat for all. Featuring academic and playwright Quah Syren, writer Ng How Wee, young writers Teng Qian Xi, Willy Yeo and more, the audience will be treated to a forum wherein the intricacies of forbidden love and its inspiration, as spoken through Singapore Chinese literary works (original and translated), are explored. Follow us as we seek camaraderie in diversity. Or perhaps it doesn�t matter at all.

Licence from MDA pending


Date: Sunday, 5 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Venue: 72-13

How do women who don�t pair up primarily to procreate view the expiry of their youth and ovaries? Ovidia�s short story takes a light-hearted look at how one woman who�s no longer entitled to free drink vouchers on Ladies� Nights survives the stereotypes of middle age, straying lovers and a (sterilised) ex-stray cat.Yi-sheng�s offering, on the other hand, is a spicy phantasmagoric romp through the eyes of a man who sexually desires old men.

Licence from MDA pending


Date: Monday, 6 August 2007
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Queer relationships don�t last compared to straight relationships. In this talk, Anj Ho will challenge such myths with research literature and present to you what have been found to make relationships tick. Regardless of your orientation, you will find this interactive talk refreshingly informative.


Date: Sunday, 12 August 2007
Time: 3 – 6:30 pm
Venue: 72-13


OCWomen and Sayoni are pleased to bring you a groundbreaking workshop which focusses on our selves in relationships.

The workshop takes you through a light-hearted process of reflection on your past/present relationships with the aim of providing you with greater clarity and self awareness.

Understanding the types of relationships we have lived through and the dynamics in the partnerships we make, gives clarity to what we are like when we are in a relationship. Understanding ourselves in our relationships is key to truly living a relationship.

Clarity and honesty within is crucial when inspecting our numerous motivations and our modes of operation. Only then will we begin to know who we truly are and build the relationship that resonates us. There will also be interactive discussions on the types of relationships, the roles that we play in them and signs of negative relationships.

For an afternoon of enlightenment, come!

IndigNation Event: Tall Tales and Short Stories
Articles - Events
Sunday, 29 July 2007 00:00

How do women who don’t pair up primarily to procreate view the expiry of their youth and ovaries? Ovidia’s short story takes a light-hearted look at how one woman who’s no longer entitled to free drink vouchers on Ladies’ Nights survives the stereotypes of middle age straying lovers and a (sterilised) ex-stray cat.

Yisheng’s offering, on the other hand, a deliberately absurd story about Vladimir Koh Nah Bay, a young man who is sexually attracted to only male senior citizens. Vladimir describes his youthful discovery of his urges, his rapid rise through the world of commerce due to his affairs, and his scandalous liaisons with unnamed political figures. The entire tale is told in the form of an official letter which forbids the reading of the story on the grounds of its disturbing effectiveness in converting people to be attracted to old men.

Licence from MDA pending.

Ng Yi-Sheng

Ng Yi-Sheng is a poet, playwright and writer. His first book of poetry, “Last Boy”, was published in 2006. His poems have also been published in the poetry anthologies “First Words”, “onewinged”, “No Other City” and “Love Gathers All”, as well as the journals “the2ndRule”, “QRLS”, “Softblow”, “Quarto”, “Asian Journal” and “Queer”. He won the SPH-Theatreworks 24-hour Playwriting Competition two years in a row, in 1998 and 1999, and has been published in the play anthology “5 under 25″. His performed plays include “Serve”, “Snake”, “Redhill Blues”, “Hungry”, “251″ and “Georgette: The Musical”. In 2006, he published a collection of gay, lesbian and bisexual Singaporeans’ coming out stories, “SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century”.

Ovidia Yu

Ovidia Yu is an award-winning female novelist, short-story writer and playwright. She is the recipient of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation Culture Award (1996), the National Arts Council (NAC) Young Artist Award (1996) and the Singapore Youth Award (1997). Her plays have been peformed locally and abroad.

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