To empower queer women towards greater involvement and presence in the community
Advocacy for LBTQ women's rights at CEDAW
Sayoni was at the United Nations in Geneva in October 2017 to bring Singapore LBTQ women's issues to the forefront. The CEDAW Committee heard our concerns and raised recommendations related to LBTQ women in their Concluding Observations for the Singapore government.
Sayoni is a Singapore-based feminist, volunteer-run organisation that works to uphold human rights protections for queer women, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. We organise and advocate for equality in well-being and dignity regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and sex characteristics.

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Psychologically and physically, there are certain characteristics, male or female, and anatomical parts, which will arouse desire and love in a person. To most people, only the characteristics of one gender will elicit this response. And to some, it might seem that the brain can only be attuned to one gender, in that it is 'wired' that way. But not always... it is not entirely understood why a person of a certain gender would have feelings for the same sex, much less for people to claim that a person cannot be bisexual.

It is a documented fact that men are more likely to fall into either category, straight or gay, rather than bisexual [statistically]. There was even a study done on this. While I personally doubt the accuracy of that study, due to a limited sample size, I also feel it rushes towards a hasty conclusion: that there are only three categories, straight, bi and gay. And that if a person happens to prefer one sex over the other, even slightly, he immediately has to be boxed into gay or straight rather than bisexual, and that he is 'delusional'. The Kinsey scale is proof that this soup-can labelling is not entirely accurate.

For women, however, the straight-gay-bi boundaries are a lot more fluid, and they are true representatives of the Kinsey scale. However, very tentative conclusions can be drawn about women, because of the dearth of research into female sexuality. The only data on women are surveys on female sexual practices, such as this.

While studies indicate most people are innately bisexual, to whatever extent, many never act on it, or even realise it. Identifying as bisexual is essentially identifying as gay, and most people would rather live a purely heterosexual life than bear the stigma of that. Hence, the number of people who call themselves bisexual is far less than the true number... leading to the bisexual community being an minority in the gay community.

In essence, bisexuality is valid a sexual orientation as heterosexuality or homosexuality – and as essential a part of the gay community.

In the next column, Pleinelune shall discuss the problems bisexuals face.



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