In which Wednesday rants.
This is my problem with LGBT activism in Singapore1:
According to Alex Au, queerness and piety are something less than compatible. According to Alex Au, feminism is misandrist (TW for statutory rape & victim-blaming). (ETA: Also, I guess I gave up my right to privacy when I was born, since all queer peeps must be out or they are traitors to the cause. Amirite? I’m right.)
For Leona Lo, it is acceptable to co-opt & appropriate the experiences of Malay sex workers, even though Lo is Chinese and middle-class – because all trans women are trans women, that’s what counts! For Leona Lo, since there is privilege in passing, you have only yourself to blame if cissexism tips your life upside-down.
Au and Lo are really BNFs when it comes to LGBT rights in Singapore. (And I know BNF is probably a terrible term to use, but I can’t think of a non-fandom equivalent.) However, #protip to the media & the blogosphere: that doesn’t make them the go-to people for everything. (Gender)/queer people aren’t a monolith, and I am really very tired of the media plonking everybody into this homogenous mass of unquestioned authority. People can fail. And I know that sometimes one’s tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to people who’ve done a lot of queer causes locally, but past achievements aren’t a get-out-of-jail-free.
So I’m an optimist. But I’d like to think it possible to recognise and accept the diversity of our local LGBT community, rather than tossing it under the rug to present a united face. I’d like to think it possible to unpack our own privileges while exploring our oppressions. I’d like to think it possible for there to be a teensiest bit more room for the local scene to develop, for newer voices to come forth, because we are in the 21st century nao kthx, we are a generation raised on connectivity and instant gratification and a wholly different situation than the one that the adults who came before us were used to.
Yah I am opinionated as fuck. But I’m not identifying with the local movement nao, and I don’t think it’s for want of trying, for srs. I gave up years ago, when I was fourteen and not terribly impressèd. If the status quo can’t change, then it’ll be superseded, trufax.
note: If you’re going to wank, pls not to be all ‘OMG it’s cuz you is little girl’ (I’m seventeen) ‘and has none of teh Real ExperienceTM‘ (how real is real enough to get cookies bb) ‘and has none of teh learnings’ (I totes has learnings! Let me show you them!) kthxbai.
1 Ignore hao much I hate the term LGBT. (Sexual orientation != gender; spectrum, not binary; way to go erasing ace folks.) Or even worse, QUILTBAG (which is so cutesy it’s like I’m a lolcat and not a hooman).