News and Opinions

Statement from the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Advocacy

For immediate release


Statement from the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Refuse to Protect LGBTIQ Rights!


This week November 18, 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) heads of state adopted the first ever ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).  To the grave disappointment of representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) peoples through out the region, the declaration did not include protections for this highly vulnerable group.


We, the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus  are outraged and disappointed by the decision of the ASEAN Head of States to adopt the AHRD that excluded sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Despite countless attempts and demands by the members of civil society, including LGBTIQ groups, to push for its inclusion, ASEAN have remained reticent to the attempts. This AHRD not only shows a lack of respect to LGBTIQ people but also makes a mockery of the international human rights values and principles that all nations and citizens abide by and are held accountable to.

“Evidently, the numerous failed attempts to engage with AICHR and the recent adoption of ASEAN Declaration with no mention of SOGI, sends a clear message that the human rights of LGBTIQ people are irrelevant to them,” explained Vien Tanjung, founder of Her Lounge.

Population Townhall: A "Lesbian" Perspective

Written by irene on . Posted in Commentary

I attended the Population Townhall on 9 Oct, a consultation organised by REACH and the National Population and Talent Division as part of public engagement initiatives for our population issues. Citizens who completed the questionnaire posted on www.population.sg were invited to attend the session.

I wanted to contribute more progressive input towards this initiative. The language used on the website and questionnaire was very heterosexual-centric. I kept seeing the phrase "get married and have children", although not everyone will want to get married before having children. This remains true even for heterosexual couples, who may feel that they are ready to be parents but not married couples.

The panel included DPM Teo Chee Hean, Minister Grace Fu, Acting Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Amy Khor (REACH's chairperson), who was moderating.

AWARE Roundtable on SOGI Issues

Written by editor on . Posted in LGBT News & Politics

AWARE posted a good overview of recent changes in the Asian LGBT landscape over the past few months. It included some info from a roundtable discussion held on Aug 16 where Sayoni's Jean Chong and Kelly Then spoke.

Here are some relevant parts, but I recommend reading the entire post.

From Beyond 377A:

Pressure from prevailing social attitudes are not countered by any significant State support. While there is no data for Singapore, the worldwide rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide are higher for LGBT youths; they are often teased and bullied in school because of their perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no information on safe sex for gay teens in the current sex education syllabus, and no state-sponsored institutions that have expertise in providing counselling for those grappling with LGBT issues.

Jean also mentioned that a study that has shown that many gay people go back into the closet when they grow old, because old folks’ homes are not open to the idea of same-sex relationships.

In the absence of decriminalization and State recognition, it is therefore crucial to include LGBT perspectives in areas such as research, advocacy, and social services, said Kelly. These include the Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), sex education, maternal and paternal leave, violence in relationships, singles, de facto relationships (where couples may cohabit for extended periods but not marry), ageing, poverty, and sexual harassment – all issues that impact the LGBT community.

How do you think our invisibility in the state mechanism affects you personally?

Spotting Gay Symptoms in Malaysia?

Written by editor on . Posted in LGBT News & Politics

Word of a parenting guide launched in Penang spread quickly on the blogosphere this week. It was apparently unveiled during a seminar that Malaysian Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi attended.


From Free Malaysia Today:

The guide listed four symptoms each for gays and lesbians:

For gays:

  • Muscular body and a fondness for showing off the body by wearing clothing, such as by wearing V-necks and sleeveless tops
  • A preference for tight and bright coloured clothes
  • An inclination to be attracted to men
  • A tendency to carry big handbags, similar to the kinds used by women

For lesbians:

  • Showing attraction to women
  • Distancing themselves from women other than their girlfriends
  • A preference for hanging out, sleeping and dining with women
  • Absence of feelings for men


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