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Are You LBTQ? Experienced Violence or Discrimination?
Articles - Announcements
Monday, 09 June 2014 04:40


Have you been teased, bullied or physically locked up or harassed – because you are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer in some other way? Have you had trouble in school, finding a job or flat, or getting the healthcare services you needed?

Some of us shrug off these daily discriminations as everyday happenings. Others have never spoken about the pain we have suffered. Authority figures can be cold and lack understanding of LBTQ people. Our family members may have turned our backs on us.

Do you have a story of your own to share?

Sayoni is conducting a study on LBTQ experiences of violence and discrimination in Singapore. We are looking for people who identify as women across the LBTQ spectrum who are willing to sit down with us to answer some questions. You should also be 18 and above and have lived in Singapore for more than a year.

Your participation is important to help people understand the real situation on the ground. It will drive Sayoni's advocacy work and shed light on the community's needs.

We will keep your data anonymous and do our utmost to protect the privacy of interviewees. To find out more about our study, please email us at hrd[at]sayoni.com.



Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 21:47
 
Civil society statement on racism and xenophobia
Articles - Announcements
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:30

We, the undersigned, are alarmed by the recent surge of racism and xenophobia in Singapore.  They threaten the human rights of all (especially migrants) and the health of our political conversation.

The key to addressing the economic frustrations felt by many Singaporeans is to amend the economic policies and structures that cause worsening economic inequality and marginalisation.  These inequitable policies were not instituted by migrants and will not automatically disappear if the migrant population decreases.  We urge for the energies of civil society to be directed toward creating a fairer, more equal society for all, including universal labour rights and employment protections.

Focusing on immigrants does not contribute to these structural changes and instead creates an unsafe and divisive society.  We see the widespread use of racist, aggressive and militarised rhetoric on social media, as well as a trend of blaming foreigners for social ills.  Ordinary people have been threatened in public spaces with nationalist and/or anti-foreigner language.  To identify “true blue Singaporeans”, people appeal to prejudices about race, class, skin colour, names, accent, language, and other markers of difference, creating an oppressive society where people constantly discriminate against one another. This supports various forms of discrimination, not just against non-Singaporeans but also among Singaporeans – for example, on the basis of gender, age, disability, class, ethnicity, descent and other characteristics.

This anti-foreigner approach also stifles constructive political discussion.  Some elevate pink identity cards or National Service to sacred emblems of belonging and entitlement, which cannot then be discussed openly and inclusively.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 03:43
 
Violence and Discrimination: Share Your Story With Us
Articles - LGBT Rights, Politics & World News
Sunday, 20 April 2014 03:52



Sayoni is conducting a research study to document cases of human rights violations against LBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer) women in Singapore because of gender or sexuality. This information will be gathered through semi-structured face-to-face interviews.

If you meet the following criteria, we invite you to participate:

-    Identify as female and LBTQ
-    Have experienced discrimination and/or violence in Singapore as a result of your gender or sexual orientation
-    Aged 18 and above
-    Have lived in Singapore for more than a year

The data collected will be kept anonymous and strictly confidential. We will do our utmost to protect the privacy and safety of respondents.

Your participation is important to help us understand the community’s needs and drive advocacy work to meet these needs. The findings will also fuel our other efforts to improve the day-to-day experiences of LBTQ women and enable their inclusion and participation in Singapore society.

We would be happy to provide more information. Please email us at hrd@sayoni.com to sign up or find out more.

 
Advancing Our Rights in ASEAN
Articles - LGBT Rights, Politics & World News
Saturday, 22 March 2014 13:14

ACSC APF 2014
[Photo by Rainbow Rights Project]


Sayoni is participating in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference, or ASEAN People’s Forum, again this year – this time in Yangon, Myanmar. It’s a huge civil society gathering, larger than before, with some putting the numbers at 1800 activists from all over ASEAN.

In the words of ACSC/APF,

http://aseanpeople.org/about

Every year before the ASEAN Summit, a conference known as the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) is held independently, paralleled to the official ASEAN Summit. Myanmar’s bid for the rotating ASEAN chair was granted, so it is responsible as well to host the ASEAN People’s Forum where hundreds of civil society actors from the ASEAN region will gather to represent voices of civil societies.

This year’s theme is “Advancing ASEAN Peoples’ Solidarity towards Sustainable Peace, Development, Justice and Democratization and address issues around Peace; Justice and Human Rights; Development and Democratization; and ASEAN.”


 
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Media Release
Articles - Announcements
Friday, 14 March 2014 04:39

Media release
March 13, 2014
For immediate release


The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus’ Affirms ‘We Are #ASEANtoo’
& Calls States And People to Support Inclusion of SOGIE in the ASEAN



March 13, 2014 - The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) yesterday launched its ‘We are #ASEANtoo’ campaign on its social media sites in the lead up to the ASEAN People’s Forum that will take place in Burma from 21 to 23 March 2014. The social media campaign calls online users to show their support for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) in the ASEAN by using the hashtag #ASEANtoo as they send supportive tweets and Instagrams.


In addition, the ASC released a summary of laws that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans*, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) persons in the ASEAN. This is accompanied by online posters of the ASC’s recommendations to the ASEAN to promote and protect the rights of LGBTIQ persons. The posters can be found in eight major languages used in the ASEAN – Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Malay, Tamil, Thai, and Vietnamese. The full recommendations can be found on the website.


“The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness regarding the ASC’s recommendations, which address some of the pressing issues concerning LGBTIQ persons in the ASEAN. The ASC calls the government of all ASEAN countries to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ persons and to comply with human rights standards, establish national level ASEAN mechanisms and review existing human rights instruments, and depathologize SOGIE,” said Hla Myat Tun, of Colors of Rainbow, Myanmar.

 
Press Statement from "Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee"
Articles - Commentary
Written by jean   
Friday, 04 October 2013 21:02

Press Statement from "Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee"

Courts Asked To Declare On Employment Equality
Singapore, 4 October 2013 – As equality laws are being revised worldwide, the Singapore courts have been petitioned to declare that Constitutional equality should apply in the workplace.

Lawrence Wee Kim San was recently dismissed by Robinsons, the iconic department store, on the grounds of sexual orientation.

In a historic application, Wee, a former senior management executive, is applying to the High Court here to declare that Article 12 should apply to all forms of discrimination at work.

The city state, heavily dependent on high-skilled labour, has sought to make Singapore attractive to professionals. In recent years, the economy has stepped up efforts to stem the outflow of Singaporean and foreign professionals, attracted by rapid development in neighbouring countries.

In May 2011, at the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Review, the Singapore government declared, “The principle of equality of all persons before the law is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Wee’s application, widely regarded as a test case, is expected to declare the law in respect of workplace discrimination. Having significant implications for labour relations, it will be watched closely when it is heard in November.

A group of concerned citizens, calling themselves Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee, have come together to support the application. Dr Roy Tan, a spokesperson for the committee said, “Our name makes reference to the Constitutional provision that entitles everybody to equal protection of the law.”

Wee’s lawyers noted, “With the challenge before the Court, Mr Wee, on behalf of all Singaporeans, is seeking a declaration that Article 12 should be interpreted to confirm the government’s position that all persons, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, are indeed and in fact protected by Singapore’s employment laws.”

Dr Tan added, “In the coming days, the Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee will release further information on the campaign and opportunities for like-minded individuals to show their support.”



For further information, please contact Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee at: article12campaign@gmail.com.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 21:14
 
Not Your Gay Lifestyle
Articles - Commentary
Written by alina   
Monday, 26 August 2013 14:56

The Institute of Policy Studies, a think-tank within the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, conducted a survey with 4000 Singaporeans as part of Our Singapore Conversation. Contained within its questions were some on “gay lifestyles” and same-sex marriage. I’m writing this out of a deep sense of uneasiness at the questions asked, and of course, disappointment on several levels, both as a queer woman and as one of those Singaporeans the conversation is supposed to be for.

First, I want to say that language matters, and this is true everywhere, including and especially in a research survey. From the chart (reproduced below), “gay lifestyles” appears to be the term used to measure acceptance or rejection. But what were they accepting or rejecting? Us. LGBQ persons. By framing our sexuality as a “lifestyle”, were the researchers trying to set it up as a objective quantity, something that can be added and subtracted with ease? Because that’s what they might have been suggesting to the respondent.

“Gay lifestyle” implies choice and ease of change. No matter how important a role nature or nurture play in being gay, it's not something we just stop being. Being queer is an important part of who we are and is closely tied to crucial, positive human feelings such as love and affection as well as sex. Referring to it as a lifestyle implicitly rejects queer people, and if the survey said this, I’d like to know where the researchers were coming from in asking the question.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 03:45
 
Come Out Come Home, a Sayoni initiative
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 05 August 2013 04:23

CouCH

 

Every movement starts with the few who step out a little further than the rest, and change happens from there. By coming out and being visible as an LGBTQ person or ally, we encourage others to step out of their closets, too.

COuCH, which stands for Come Out Come Home, is a Sayoni community initiative to encourage and support LGBTQ persons and allies to come out or be more out than they already are. In particular, we hope to reach LGBTQ persons who are or are trying to be ready to come out.

The movement was inspired by studies which have shown that there are many positive effects when LGBTQ persons come out. This is also about celebrating the people – families, friends, and/or peers – who love, accept and support us, and thus encourage us to be out. COuCH aims to empower and provide visibility to the LGBTQ community and our allies. This helps the world understand that we are part of and play many different roles in society.

From 3 August 2013, genuine stories about Singaporeans coming out, as a queer person or ally, will be published and streamed online through a dedicated website (COuCH.sg) and its Facebook Page.

As one of Sayoni’s founders, Jean Chong, said at the launch of the movement at Indignation 2013 on Saturday, “We often talk about the need to dialogue with those on the opposing side... But the dialogue needs to start in our homes, with our community, with our friends, and most importantly with ourselves.”

We call on all LGBTQ persons and allies who can come out, wish to come out or feel they are ready to, to participate by sharing your photos and stories, uploading a video, making a pledge with us to come out, or contributing funds to support the initiative. The campaign peaks on 11 Oct, International Coming Out Day, with a special event.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

READ
Website: www.couch.sg
Facebook: www.facebook.com/couch2013

JOIN IN
Share, upload, pledge or contribute: www.couch.sg/participate

LINKS TO RESOURCES

Sayoni's Coming Out Guide: In PDF format / Hard copy format


 
Queer Content at the Israel Film Festival
Articles - Entertainment
Written by editor   
Sunday, 28 July 2013 00:05

IFF2013 Melting Away
[Click for full version]

The Israel Film Festival, which has been consistently LGBT-friendly, this year brings us Melting Away (2011), the moving story of a transgender woman and her family. Synopsis below:

The discovery of Assaf secretly being a cross-dresser is too much for Shlomo and so he banishes his child from home. Years later, Gallia hires a private detective to find their son, as Shlomo is dying from cancer. The detective finds Anna, the beautiful transgendered singer at a Tel Aviv nightclub. This heartfelt drama of family, love, and understanding was conceived in reaction to the deadly attack on the Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Centre and shock of parents refusing to visit their injured children.

The movie has been rated R21 (why am I not surprised?) and is in Hebrew with English subtitles. You can buy tickets from the Cathay website or find out more details about the film festival in their programme booklet.

Another queer film coming from Israel appears to be Yossi (2013), the story of a gay man finding love in an unexpected place. The IFF Facebook page appears to have a contest for tickets to the advance screening that ends on Sunday, if anyone's interested.

 
Sayoni at IndigNation 2013
Articles - Announcements
Sunday, 14 July 2013 01:16


As part of IndigNation 2013, Sayoni will be hosting two events. "Same-Sex Parenting: Raising New Standards" features a special afternoon with queer parents, while "Southeast Gaysia!" casts the spotlight on the little-known revolution happening in Asia.

We will also mark the launch of our new campaign, "Come Out Come Home", a movement to support all queer/LGBTIQ persons who wish to come out or be more out, and which celebrates and supports the allies who enable their LGBTIQ family, friends and colleagues to come out.

Here's the latest schedule. More info - and event links - can be found on the IndigNation Facebook page.


SATURDAY 3 AUG // 5PM
IndigNation 2013 Opening - Faith in the Future

SUNDAY 4 AUG // 2-6PM
Same-sex Parenting: Raising New Standards

FRIDAY 9 AUG // 5PM till late
Pink Picnic

SATURDAY 10 AUG // 8PM
I Will Survive with Music

THURSDAY 15 AUG // 8PM
Gaylien Invasion: A Night of LGBT Science Fiction

SUNDAY 18 AUG // 2-6PM
Be With Me: An OC Women workshop for women who love women

FRIDAY 23 AUG // 8PM
Akka (அக்கா): a reading of Singapore’s first queer Tamil play

SUNDAY 25 AUG // 3PM
Transcending Gender

SATURDAY 31 AUG // 4PM
Southeast Gaysia!

SATURDAY 31 AUG // 7:30PM
ContraDiction: an evening of LGBT literature


ABOUT INDIGNATION
IndigNation, an annual showcase of the Singapore LGBT community’s diversity, is now in its 9th edition.

Over the last eight years, IndigNation has showcased many facets of Singapore's LGBT community. From talks to film screenings, art exhibitions to illicit mass runs and flash mob picnics, Singapore’s homegrown Pride season has celebrated the visible and not-so-visible aspects of our country’s sexual minorities.

This year, our theme is "Faith in the Future", looking ahead to what possibilities there are for the LGBT community - not just about LGBT rights, but how we envision our future as LGBT people in Singapore.

Come and dream and hope together - because the only future we can have is the one we dare to dream of.


 
Participants Wanted for Sayoni's Youth Focus Group
Articles - Announcements
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:50

participants-wanted-for-focus-group

 

Following on our first successful session, Sayoni is hosting a 3-hour group discussion to understand queer/LGBTQ youth experiences in the family environment. The information collected will not be identifiable.

If you are of an age below 18 and would like to participate, please register here.

Your participation will inform future advocacy by Sayoni.



 
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