What’s scary this Halloween?

halloween

If you think Halloween in Singapore is all about theme park costume parties, special bloody cocktails or a parang-wielding publicity stunt gone wrong, think again.

There’s plenty more scary here in our SIN city.

A woman gets raped by her boyfriend because he wants her to stop being a lesbian.  A young man is thrown out of his home and rejected by his faith community, after he tells them he’s gay.

A transgender person is misdiagnosed with depression and schizophrenia, instead of being supported in their appropriate gender identity.

A queer youth is hounded with daily harassment and death threats, from people supposedly acting in the name of their God. A married man kills himself, unable to reconcile his attraction to women and men in a society that judges him a deviant.

A senior public servant who bans children’s library books in the name of protecting families.

A stage magician who spews hate in the name of love, with an anonymous online community that worships him.

An education system that allows students to be taught misogyny. A judiciary that upholds out-dated legislation that criminalises individuals on the basis of their partners’ gender.

A government that turns a blind eye, lacking in moral courage and running the only developed country in the world with anti-sodomy laws.

Your rubber masks and fake blood and $100 rental costumes don’t scare me this Halloween.

Homophobia is scary. And it’s very real here in Singapore.

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Pink Dot 2014

Photo © Shawn Danker
Photo © Shawn Danker

I was deeply honoured to be invited to speak at the Community Voices segment at Pink Dot on 28 June 2014 at Hong Lim Park, & this is what I said:

My name is Yangfa & I stand before you as a proud gay man, a proud social worker & a very proud uncle of 5 wonderful nieces.

I know life can be hard if you’re different.

If you’re too tall or too fat. If you have a single parent or a disability.

If you’re left-handed or transgender or gay or bi.

And life can be even harder if you’re different & you’re still in school. And you get bullied. Because there are bullies everywhere.

They are in Russia & in Singapore.

They’re in our classrooms & in our parliament.

They can even be online & onstage performing magic tricks in Chai Chee!

But WE are also everywhere.

If you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning & getting bullied, just look around: You are not alone.

And for all of us, please speak up & stand up to bullies. Call them out for the cowards they really are.

Their homophobia & transphobia will crumble when we speak up.

As the great Harvey Milk reminded us: “Hope will never be silent.”

We will survive all this!

I Will Survive Homophobia

I Will Survive Homophobia

To mark the first anniversary of the printed book’s launch, and the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia [IDAHO], the publisher Math Paper Press will be hosting a book reading event at the store BooksActually.

Date: 17 May 2014, Saturday

Time: 7.30pm

Address: BooksActually

9 Yong Siak Street [Tiong Bahru]

S 168645

In addition to readings from the editor, Leow Yangfa, there will also be invited guests reading from Calling It Out – Singapore, an online campaign to highlight homophobic bullying in schools.

Click here to read more about homophobia and IDAHO, and link to the Facebook event page.