News and Opinions

Violence and Discrimination: Share Your Story With Us

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Research



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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up or find out more.

Advancing Our Rights in ASEAN

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Advocacy

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

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Announcements

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"

Written by jean on . Posted in Commentary

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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Not Your Gay Lifestyle

Written by alina on . Posted in Commentary

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.

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