April 22, 2009.
SinQSA is concerned about Aware;
Questions have yet to be answered.
Singapore – The Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance (SinQSA) expresses its concern at recent events concerning women’s equality advocacy group Association for Women’s Action and Research (Aware).
We refer to two particular incidents – one, the takeover of Aware; and two, the appointment of Ms Josie Lau Meng Lee as president.
We gather from the press that some of the new executive committee members of Aware have previously been vocal against the acceptance of sexual minorities in Singapore.
SinQSA is concerned with the implications of these members holding leadership positions in Aware.
We believe the members’ backgrounds, beliefs and religious affiliations have to be made clear to the public.
For an organisation working to champion gender equality and empower local women, it should consist of members who readily and unequivocally recognise and accept the wide spectrum of women.
The spectrum of women is diverse, and includes women who identify as queer or transgendered.
On top of promoting gender equality, SinQSA advocates equality for all regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
This equality consists of values such as acceptance, inclusion, representation and participation.
These values are threatened by the new executive committee members, some of whom are in favour of criminalising homosexuality.
SinQSA expresses its concern and hopes that Aware will continue to work to represent the interests of all women, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
We hope that the feminist philosophy that Aware adopts is one that is inclusive and non-discriminatory.
With the interests of the community in mind, SinQSA has the following questions we hope the new executive committee may address:
1. In view of endless speculation concerning the connections and motives of the new executive committee members, can these members address them and clear the air?
2. Can they also explain their track record and aspirations for working for gender quality?
3. Why were all the chairs in the subcommittees replaced?
4. What will Aware’s stand be on women who identify as queer, homosexual, bisexual and transgendered?
We look forward to Aware’s clarifications and we wish to see Aware continue the good work they have done all these years.
We hope that Aware will work towards promoting substantive and inclusive gender equality for all.