You're Invited to the Premiere of Singapore's Newest Lesbian Documentary

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WOMEN who LOVE WOMEN: Conversations in Singapore
Running Time: 65 minutes

"It is better to be hated for what one is,
than to be loved for what one isn't"
- Andre Gide, Writer

You’re invited! Come and join us for the premiere of WOMEN who LOVE WOMEN: Conversations in Singapore at Pelangi Pride Centre on Saturday, 7 July 2007 (070707)

One of the few documentaries ever made about lesbians in Singapore, this documentary, filmed in 2006 uses interview footage with three Singaporean lesbians – Amanda Lee, Sabrina Renee Chong and Gea Swee Jean, to get a rare glimpse into lesbian lives in Singapore.

Intimate and often candid, these lesbians share about their lives and loves and their views on topics such as coming out and relationships. Sometimes heartbreaking, and often times, funny, the documentary captures the lives of lesbians who have chosen to live authentically and is a testament to the courage, tenacity and experiences of lesbians living in Singapore.

There will be a Question & Answer session with the interviewees and filmmaker, May Ling following the screening.

Details at a Glance
Event: Premiere of WOMEN who LOVE WOMEN: Conversations in Singapore
Date: Saturday, 7 July 2007 (070707)
Time: 4.30 - 6.30 pm
Venue: Pelangi Pride Centre
Bianco, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-01

Please take note that this is a private event by registration only.

Please RSVP with your name(s) to ngiamsulin@yahoo. com by 5 July to ensure a seat.

No Service at Free Community Church

Please note that there is no Church Service on 1 Jul 2007 because members will be away at the annual Church Retreat. Service will commence on 8 July 2007.

Feeling the fear but doing it anyway: Interview with Eileena Lee, gay activist in AWARENESS

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Feeling the fear, but doing it anyway

What does it take to start an internet-based group for lesbians and bisexual women, create a resource centre for the gay community, and "come out" to your family? Awareness catches up with lesbian activist and active AWARE volunteer Eileena Lee.

By Tan Hui Yee

Tell me about yourself.

I am a 35-year-old lesbian, born and bred in Singapore. I've lived most of my life here, apart from one year when I worked in Taipei, something I enjoyed tremendously. I think all of us should experience working and living outside of Singapore at some point of our lives. For me at least, I came back loving Singapore more. If I were ever to leave Singapore, it would be because of the weather - I can do without the heat! Like most Singaporeans, I live in an HDB flat, with my mum and my eight-year-old Shihtzu, Cheeky.

Every other week, my nine-month-old nephew, Taylor, stays over for a couple of days so that my brother and sister-in-law get a bit of time off from looking after him. Some years ago, just as I was "coming out" to myself and "coming out" to the world as a gay woman, I also developed an interest for Buddhism. I like how simple it is. Interestingly, it was Buddhism (and also my dear friend Charmaine) that taught me how to appreciate Christianity. Recently I've taken an interest in photography. I like how it makes simple and ordinary things pretty.

How did you come to be involved in AWARE?

In 2001, two women committed suicide and there was a bit of hoo-ha over their lives prior to their tragic demise. What we read in the press, mostly the tabloids, were very scandalous and sensationalised. At that time I had already started "RedQuEEn!" (http://www.geocitie qn/) - an internet discussion group for lesbians and bisexual women and women who are
questioning their sexuality - for about two years, and the tragic deaths of the two women got us thinking about what we could have done to prevent their deaths. We contacted Vera Handojo, then coordinator of the AWARE helpline, to help us train our volunteer counsellors. On a personal level, I wanted to give back to AWARE the kindness that Vera had extended to us at a time when
not many people were openly gay-affirmative. And so I've been with AWARE since then.

Why did you start "RedQuEEn!"?

Back then, there was absolutely nothing for gay women to turn to for support. The internet was their best bet. For women who were not "out", the internet was a safe haven for them to connect with each other. By "out", I mean being ready to tell people that they are gay. You see, we live in a
very heterosexist society and there is this unconscious assumption that all of us are heterosexual. Put yourself in the shoes of a gay woman: You grow up with only heterosexual role models around you. Your school environment is heterosexual. Your work environment is heterosexual. Your gay identity is never acknowledged. How would you feel? That was my personal experience.
When I was "coming out" as a gay person, I felt very alone and I felt that there was a need for a group to empower and support women like myself. That's why "RedQuEEn!" was formed.

Have things changed since you started "RedQuEEn!"?

In 1998, when I started "RedQuEEn!", I never thought it would grow to what it is today. We started with 17 women who responded to my email in a mixed gay mailing list. Now, we have over 1,300 subscribers. Back then when I did a search for "Singapore Lesbians" on the internet, the only links that showed up were links for pornography, nothing on support or empowerment for sexual minorities. Now, we have so many groups out there catering to the various needs of the people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or transsexual. It is a vast improvement from what I came out to in the 1990s. Now we even have The Pelangi Pride Centre (http://www.pelangip ridecentre. org/) which incorporates a Resource Library for people to go to for information and support. Instead of just bars and discos, we now have regular places for gay people, or for people who are questioning their sexual orientation, to hang out in.

What sort of challenges have you faced along the way?

Setting up the group itself was a huge challenge. At that time, there were hardly any openly gay people around. I had a lot of fear when I started the group. I had no idea if I would be breaking the law because the internet laws were so broadly worded. I was mindful to be a law abiding citizen,

How did you deal with that fear?

I guess the need to go out to lend support to people who were isolated was greater than my own fear. I took a deep breath and did it.

What have you learnt from the work you do?

I think sometimes Singaporeans limit themselves by grumbling about this and that, instead of finding ways to solve the problem. I've learnt that anything can be done.

How do the people you encounter tend to respond when you tell them that you are gay?

Most of the time, people are supportive. I have "come out" to my heterosexual friends and all of them try to be supportive. We are still friends -- none of my heterosexual friends have cut me off after I've "come out" to them. I have to admit, though, that I was really afraid initially that my disclosure would end the friendships. Disclosing it to my family was a little more tricky, I took a few years before I told my parents that I was gay. It was challenging because I knew I had to deal with a lot of emotions and disappointments. Parents automatically assume that their children are heterosexual, so when you tell them otherwise, there is bound to be some disappointments - mainly because they have to readjust their expectations, but I am glad I "came out" to them. To me, honesty is essential to a good relationship. And because I love my family, I want to be honest with them.

Some people say that there is no need for gay people to "declare" their homosexuality, just like heterosexual people don't need to tell others that they are straight. What are your thoughts on this?

People need to know that just because we don't talk about gay people, it doesn't mean that they don't exist. And so to (those people who make this statement), I would say, why not? Often when people think about "coming out", they imagine gay people marching in parades and demanding rights. To me, "coming out" is simply sharing a part of myself which I don't have to be ashamed of. In my interactions with people, it is not uncommon for them to ask me "Are you married?" or "Do you have a boyfriend?" I don't really want to cook up some tale about a non-existent boyfriend or pretend that I am attracted to men. That would be when I tell them that I am gay. I feel that
once I start with a lie, I will have to come up with more lies to cover up that first lie, so why start in the first place? The bigger question is, will I be able to live with myself if I lie?

In a broader context, because we all grew up in an environment where gay people are laughed at and made fun of, "coming out" is necessary. It allows people, through their interactions with openly gay persons, to learn that these gay persons just as normal as them. When we keep quiet about our homosexuality, we help protect the environment which makes it okay for people to be unaware of gay people. It is this lack of awareness that keeps and limits us to an environment where people assume that being gay is wrong, when it is not.

What do you hope to see come out of the work you do?

I hope that one day no one will bat an eyelid when the words "gay", "lesbian," "bisexual", "transgender" , and "transsexual" are mentioned. I hope that one day no young person who identifies as a sexual minority will have to grow up feeling unsupported and alone.

How far are we from having that kind of environment now?

There's still a long way to go. We're just at the start of the journey now.My solution to get to there is very simple - but difficult to do. We just need every gay person to "come out" to his or her family. When that happens, there will be more people out there who know someone who is gay. When more people know someone who is gay, people will see that gay people are just normal people.

The current issue of AWARENESS "March 2007, Volume 13" is a collection of articles on topics like - HIV/AIDS, Teenage Sex Education and Homosexuality.

To Order AWARENESS ($15) or to make a donation to AWARE - Please call or write to:

Association of Women for Action and Research
Block 5, Dover Crescent, #01-22, Singapore 130005.
Tel: +65 67797137
Email: aware@aware.
Website: http://www.aware.

PPC Event: "Love, Sex and Happiness -- A Buddhist Perspective" (30 June 2007)

"Love, Sex and Happiness -- A Buddhist Perspective"

What has love got to do with sex?
What does sex have to do with happiness?
Can we be sexually active and yet have a fulfilling spiritual life?
Is gay sex a "sexual misconduct"?

Come join us at Pelangi Pride Center with Angie Monksfield for a sessionon "Love, Sex and Happiness".Angie will share with us her perspectives on sex and relationships, andin particular what her views are on Buddhist attitudes towards same-sexrelationships.

About the speaker:
Ms Angie Monksfield is the President of Buddhist Fellowship. She was afounder member of this organisation when it was established in 1988 andhas been instrumental in modernising and transforming the image of Buddhism in Singapore.

She also founded the non-profit Brahm Education Centre, Tai Pei Buddhist Counseling Centre and the Soracco Music andPerforming Arts group.

She is a Counselor Trainer and teaches a variety of courses. She is also a Vice President of the Singapore Computer Society, a member of MDA Arts Consultative Panel and a Marriage Solemniser. She is a provocative and inspiring speaker.

Date - 30th June 2007
Time - 4pm
Venue - Pelangi Pride Centre @ Bianco
Cost per person: $6 (cost of 2 soft drinks and finger food)

To sign up, please email[pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com]to RSVP with your name, contact number, the name/s of your guests.

How to get to Pelangi Pride Centre @ Bianco -21 Tanjong Pagar Road #04-01.
Map -

Indignation 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Indignation 2007, Singapore's Pride Season will be held from 1 -15 August and will showcase the diversity of the GLBTQ communities. This is the third Indignation held in Singapore, with the first held in 2005. Go to for more information on the programme (not yet up).

AFP: Singapore's HIV/AIDS Cases Rise by Record Levels in 2006

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New HIV/AIDS infections in Singapore rose by a record 357 cases in 2006, bringing the total number of people diagnosed with the disease to 3,060, the Ministry of Health said.

The 2006 figures released Friday on the ministry's website showed an increase of 12.6 percent from 2005 when there were 317 new cases -- then a record high number of new infections -- from a population of just above four million.

More than 90 percent of new HIV cases detected in 2006 were through sexual transmission with two-thirds of the infections from heterosexual sex, the ministry said. Of the 3,060 cases overall in Singapore, 1,048 have died, 1,307 show no signs of the illness while 705 have AIDS-related illnesses, said the ministry.

More than half of those detected with the disease in 2006 were already at a late stage of HIV/AIDS infection, it said. "This was similar to the pattern in previous years," said the ministry. "There is thus an urgent need for persons who engage in high risk behaviour such as unprotected casual sex and intravenous drug abuse to test themselves for HIV," it said.

HIV is the virus that causes deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is transmitted largely through unprotected sex and sharing intravenous needles. There is no cure for AIDS. It breaks down a person's immune system, rendering them vulnerable to infection and disease.

Singapore has expressed alarm over the growth of HIV infections but the government has rejected widespread promotion of condom use, preferring instead to focus on using more effective and cheaper methods such as preventing mother-to-child infections.


SAFE presents "A Community Affair" (Sat 9 June 2007, 4-6pm, Pelangi Pride Centre)

Friday, June 8, 2007

supporting, affriming & empowering
our lgbtQ friends and family


"a community affair"

saturday 9 June 2007
4 - 6 pm
pelangi pride center @ bianco

Do you want to know more about homosexuality?
Do you have a gay or lesbian child/family member and want to find out more information but don't know where to find it or how?
What is this "gay lifestyle" that people tell you about?

Come to "a community affair" organized by SAFE and Pelangi Pride Centre, to
find out all the information you need!

Pelangi Pride Centre will give a short session on Homosexuality - Facts &

Other LGBTQ community groups that reach out to the lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgendered communities in Singapore, will be there to tell
you about the activities they offer to the community and also how they play
an important role in the support and self-development of our gay family
members and friends.

Following the presentation, you will get the chance to mingle and chat with
supportive parents and affirming counselors. There is also an extensive
library of gay-related non-fiction/ fiction books and resources for browsing
and borrowing.

This event is organised for those new to the LGBTQ community, especially
straight family and friends who want to find our more about this community
in Singapore. They will be given priority to this event.

We look forward to welcoming you at "a community affair" on Saturday, 9 June 2007 from 4-6pm at Bianco, above Mox Bar & Café at 21 Tanjong Pagar Road #04-01. Sign up today by sending your RSVP to safesingapore [at] If you have further questions, please call Susan at 9624-7192.

Pelangi Pride Centre listed in TimeOut

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pelangi Pride Centre took a brave step and got itself listed in TimeOut (June 2007 issue). It's our first ever print publicity in a mainstream magazine.