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at https://www.facebook.com/SinQSA

The Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance

Hi friends,

Thanks for being part of Pink Dot 2013. A little goes a long way and Pink Dot is one of the many platforms for a Singaporean to stand up for equality regardless of orientation and persuasion.

Please find some time to visit our Facebook page and be part of the community.

I apologise if this page isn’t as frequently updated, and for the archiving of the previous SinQSA Facebook group.

For those interested in the SinQSA button badges and decals, please stay tuned to updates on the Facebook page.

Yours,
Sam Ho
SinQSA Co-founder

SinQSA badges and decals

Pink Dot this Saturday

Dear Friends of the Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance,

This Saturday is Pink Dot, and all are welcome to participate. Feel free to learn more about the event and FAQ at http://pinkdotsg.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=213227668705748

I hope everyone will have good fun this Saturday (and also keep the park clean). Come in pink to show your support for the freedom to love.

SinQSA will have a mat and you are most welcomed to approach us to get a small token representative of the support of queer-straight friendship and harmony. These are badges and car window/windscreen decals (picture available on the SinQSA group wall).

I also take this opportunity to make an appeal for donations to help us recover some of the costs of producing these badges and decals. We will not be soliciting donations or monetary contributions on Saturday, but will have a box ready to receive any kind voluntary bits of generosity.

If you’re keen to donate to SinQSA before/after Pink Dot, feel free to drop us an email. You may also email us if you are keen to volunteer for a couple of hours at the SinQSA mat – any help will be greatly appreciated.

See you on Saturday.
Sam

SinQSA Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19433577883

SinQSA snippets

Hi members and friends of SinQSA,

We now embark on a small project where we welcome and repost short biographical snippets of people who either:

1) Identify as queer
2) Have LGBTQ friends and relatives

With these snippets (about 200-300 words), we want to show the daily routines, as well as achievements and contributions of people who identify as queer or those who support their queer friends and relatives.

Here are some guiding questions for your snippet:
1) What do you (your friend) do for a living?
2) What are your (your friend’s) hobbies?
3) What are your (your friend’s) gripes?
4) What are your (your friend’s) contributions to society/Singapore?
5) What are your (your friend’s) personal achievements?
6) What was the last thing you (your friend) felt very proud of?
7) What was the last hurdle you (your friend) overcame?
Remember, your snippet may be about yourself or a friend/relative.

In Singapore, there are too many stereotypes and stigma that cast our LGBTQ friends, and straight people who associate with them, in the bad light.

Our little project aims to show that we are mature enough to move beyond the damaging stereotypes and stigma, and show that queer folks and straight friends lead ordinary lives, with ups and downs, and with achievements and contributions like any other Singaporean.

All too often, our problems, contributions and achievements are overshadowed by our identity, as people seem more preoccupied with gender and sexual identity. For once, we should help ourselves by putting the things we face as human beings, ahead of sexual orientation and gender identity, which are one part of who we are.

It is not as if we would like to prove to everyone that we are normal like them, but it is always nice to give gentle reminders to others if we want to make Singapore a better place for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Until the day comes when our differences can be a reason for us coming together, we should start looking at similarities and the things we share in common.

You may write about yourself, or of a friend.
You may choose to remain anonymous.
You may wish to write about the mundane and daily routines, or particular achievements, contributions or struggles, anything to show that we are human and have a lot more in common than we think.
You may write in any language.
If you are writing from outside Singapore, please indicate so.
We trust you to be honest n your accounts/snippets.

We aim to collect these stories for the indefinite future, and post them on our website and to our Facebook group subscribers on a regular basis, sharing these stories with the rest of the community.

Please send your snippets to admin [at] sinqsa [dot] org.

With the snippets coming in from people from all walks of life, we also seek volunteers who are able to help out with the editing. We will definitely welcome your help! Do step forward and send us an email too, to admin [at] sinqsa [dot] org.

Well, SinQSA is about celebrating difference and being together to celebrate it. Let us make change.

The SinQSA Game Show

Hello and apologies for the month-long delay.

On August 16, the Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance (SinQSA) organised the SinQSA Game Show, which featured 5 teams each comprising one straight and one queer-identified friends, all competing game-show style.

Teams Nevereverfull, Pussy Riders, Pinky and the Brain, Sepet Ninjas, and Last Minute (in descending order) had a good time competing and entertaining the audience.

The winners were not only the mentioned teams, who walked away with prizes, but the many queer-straight alliances themselves.

Even in the context of a game show, they have shown that queer and straight people can work together, overcome challenges and also have a good laugh.

This event would not have been possible without the sponsors New Urban Male, Rusty’s Favourites, The Garden Slug, Food #03 and People Like Us Cafe.

A big thanks to the game programmer Min, who has provided us with wonder visuals.

SinQSA extends its gratitude to venue sponsors 72-13, who have been a friend of Pride Month Indignation. We also would like to thank People Like Us and Fridae and all other volunteers who have made this event and all other events at Indignation’09 possible.

See you at the next meet-up!

The SinQSA Game Show

The SinQSA Game Show: Putting the Queer-Straight Alliance to the Game Show test!

Form a team of 2 (one queer, one straight) and battle through 3 rounds of games (formats include Pyramid Game, charades and Taboo). Registration fee at $10 (which will support the All You Need Is Love exhibition organised by the Post-Museum).

To register, include your team name, individual profiles (nationality, hobbies and interests) and contact information and send an email to admin[at]sinqsa.org.

Prizes will be awarded courtesy of New Urban Male, The Garden Slug, People Like Us Cafe, Rusty’s Favourite and Food #03.

The first 50 attendees will receive vouchers courtesy of New Urban Male, and there will also be a lucky draw.

The Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance will also take the opportunity to make a short presentation on its ‘Straight Privileges’ project.

Venue: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road
Date: August 16, 3pm

See you there!

I heart SinQSA

Why be part of a queer-straight alliance?

For me, it ultimately boils down to what you believe in. Your beliefs may lead to certain decisions you make that in turn may make someone else feel happier and safer.

Being part of a group not only shows that members feel the same way about the same thing, but it symbolises a sense of belonging to a common set of beliefs. In this case, we believe in a queer-straight alliance. Our beliefs manifest in us being friends, being part of a community, being part of an idea to make our society more accepting and safer for people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.

I believe SinQSA exists not to directly and forcefully push for political or social change, but as a piece of diverse society, reminding us that there will always be a space for friendship regardless of differences. Friendship, to different persons, has different meanings.

I believe that friendship is colour-blind. For me, friendship is not shaded by physiology and ideology. Friends are not dictators of thought, and friends definitely do not make each other feel sad, guilty or unsafe.

A friend accepts another for who he or she is, because this acceptance is not hindered by self-righteous judgement. That probably explains why friends are those will always be there for you.

As we believe in friendship and make friends, we start to make the effort to improve our understanding of one another, as well as ourselves – our own person. Friendship is not bothered by prejudices, and friendship always prevails over misinformation and misconceptions.

That said, the fundamentals of any alliance reflect the basic characteristics of friendship.

In a country like Singapore, we are too preoccupied with issues of apathy, sympathy and empathy. In truth, we could be much better off with the embracing of the values of friendship. The simple reason why we have conflicts is because we are judgemental and unwillingly to listen. When we speak of resolving differences, we sometimes end up calling the other party ‘different’ and point out that they are the ones who need to be changing and adjusting for our comforts. Friends don’t do that.

In SinQSA, friendship is not only about the formalities of making friends or expanding one’s social circle. It is about the values that underpin these things, that we are primarily either accepting or positively ‘blind’ to differences in identity such as gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation and sexuality.

For me, a friend does not really care whether you identify as male, female, transgenderal, or whether you have specific preferences for specific sexes, physiologies, personalities. These differences are nothing compared to the fostering of trust and the creation of safe social spaces.

Everyone is an integral part of his/her queer-straight alliance when he/she stands up for friendship and safety, and stands up against psychological and physical harm. You do not really need to be part of formal organisation to promote peace and equality, when you are already doing it in your own capacity on a daily basis. This in turn inspires others to do the same.

I believe I have some explaining to do when it comes to the conceptualisation and definition of ‘queer’ and ‘straight’.

We have decided to use ‘queer’ as an umbrella term to refer everybody captured under the banner of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and more. ‘Queer’ is basically any identity other than cis-sexual and cis-genderal. ‘Queer’ also includes those who are questioning.

We want to take back ‘queer’, away from its persecutional past and derogatory roots, and re-introduce it to Singaporeans. This is not to say we should discard its historical elements. I do not deny that it may be political, given that similar to the colour pink, derived from the Nazi pink triangle label used on sexual minorities, but now celebrated as a symbol for LGBT solidarity and rights movements, the word ‘queer’ cannot be divorced from its past as a insult word. It is a subversive reminder to all of us and our past prejudices, yet a positive one in the sense that it shows how we have improved and can keep improving.

‘Straight’ or ‘straight-ness’, on the other hand, is equally a queer word. To be scientific, ‘straight’ is cis-sexual and cis-genderal. A straight man will generally be a biological male, who is masculine, identifies as a man, and is (and will probably want to profess to be) unquestionably heterosexual.

Speaking as straight man, I believe straight prejudices stem from a combination of 1) straight privileges which have long been taken for granted; 2) perceived and mythologised emotional, moral, sexual threats to one’s ‘straight-ness’; 3) lack of contact, understanding and information about queer persons; 4) unwillingness to address point 3.

Prejudices are also not confined to straight people, as queer persons also harbour them. We cannot throw away our prejudices overnight, but I believe we can make the same piece of space in which we all live a safe place, just by saying ‘yes’ to friendship.

For a long time, we have grown too accustomed to saying ‘no’ to others, ‘no’ to their beliefs, and ‘no’ to their personhood. We have to show, as we search within ourselves, that we can say ‘yes’ for once.

A queer-straight alliance? Yes.

Queer and straight friends? Yes.

A Singapore safe for gender and sexual diversity? Yes.

For once, let us not obsess with double negatives, i.e. fight discrimination, battle hate, eradicate bigotry and so on. We should not occupy ourselves with ‘endings’ and ‘wars’, but focus on what we can start, what we can renew and what we can improve. A singular positive word, belief or action, already encompasses both the positive and the battles against hate, discrimination, harm and basically anything that is negative.

It is all a matter of beliefs. Beliefs are there to give us hope, not fuel anger and hatred, not to stoke tensions, spread ill will and incite violence. I believe in peace and safety, and my attitude and actions will always speak of them.

Ho Chi Sam
A member of SinQSA