Queer issues in Singapore


I am rekindling parts of myself I hope to remember. Here are the things I hope to never forget. 

Some days I imagine clutching the railings of stone staircases (or maybe it was granite?): these led to the playground. The old ones, before it was modified with safety features. maybe that’s how kids before us grew tough; there were never any dampeners or railings – if you fell, you learn. I am 4 years old, and I am dressed in a white dress with pink hemming. I remember telling my mama I liked this dress. I think this was before I associated femininity with softness and fragility – and then revolted from the idea of dresses or anything pink. I don’t know why I remember this.

“… because, yes I love men but can’t I also just love. Love doesn’t have fixed pronouns so why does mine have to?”

Other days, other memories – I am older; 11 and aspiring to look like a “tomboy”, hoping to be less like a girl. I distanced myself from dresses, never let my hair grow out and hoped that if I could fool everyone else, I could trick my body out of inevitable womanhood. I remember my first crush; I also remember rejecting the idea and the feeling. I don’t talk about how much I liked her. I don’t talk about how she was the first person I wanted to see in the morning, even at 7AM, with the shadow of our primary school clock tower looming over us. I have never spoken about the way we texted back and forth and our nightly conversations on the phone. I knew her number like I knew her smile, and the way her eyes lit up when she laughed, the way she didn’t like affection, but always reached out for my hugs. to this day, I still know her number and some days it stutters between the beats of my heart. I loved her, I think – I just didn’t want to let myself love her. I wonder if I could ever tell her any of this – it all feels like a lifetime ago.

I am ashamed to claim an identity of “queer”, because I think I never deserve it. I think I am too lucky, too privileged being in a heterosexual relationship. but, god, once upon a time I wanted to be with her. and there were variants of her. there were girls at every stage I would swear had my heart.

I don’t know why I’m talking about this in a deposition of memories – I just hope I never forget. It is terrifying to remember that no one wants to hear me talk about it – to hear me fall for someone who doesn’t fit my “pre-assigned” pairing, because, yes I love men but can’t I also just love. Love doesn’t have fixed pronouns so why does mine have to?

Dina is interested in studying people in their environments and has always wondered why people take astrology seriously. In her free time, she likes to narrate whatever happens around her in her head and ends up writing them in prose/poem form.